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In selecting the subjects for the successive 
volumes of this series, it has been the object of 
the author to look for the names of those great 
personages whose histories constitute useful, and 
not merely entertaining, knowledge. There are 
certain names which are familiar, as names, to 
all mankind ; and every person who seeks for 
any degree of mental cultivation, feels desir- 
ous of informing himself of the leading outlines 
of their history, that he may know, in brief, 
what it was in their characters or their doings 
which has given them so widely-extended a 
fame. This knowledge, which it seems incum- 
bent on every one to obtain in respect to such 
personages as Hannibal, Alexander, Caesar, Cle- 
opatra, Darius, Xerxes, Alfred, William the 
Conqueror, Queen Elizabeth, and Mary, queen 
of Scots, it is the design and object of these vol- 
umes to communicate, in a faithful, and, at the 
same time, if possible, in an attractive manner. 
Consequently, great historical names alone are 

viil Preface. 

selected ; and it has been the writer's aim to 
present the prominent and leading traits in their 
characters, and all the important events in their 
lives, in a bold and free manner, and yet in the 
plain and simple language v^^hich is so obvious- 
ly required in vi^orks which aim at permanent 
and practical usefulness. 


Chapter Tups 




IV. Cleopatra's father 87 










MAP, SCENE OF cleopatra's HISTORY.. Fwntispiece . 

MAP, the rainless REGION 21 






SION 190 





Chapter I. 
The Valley of the Nile. 

The parentage and birth of Cleopatra. 

FllHE story of Cleopatra is a story of crime. 
-^ It is a narrative of the course and the con- 
sequences of unlawful love. In her strange and 
roniantic history we see this passion portrayed 
with the most complete and graphic fidelity in 
all its influences and effects ; its uncontrollable 
impulses, its intoxicating joys, its reckless and 
mad career, and the dreadful remorse and ulti- 
mate despair and ruin in which it always and 
inevitably ends. 

Cleopatra was by birth an Egyptian ; by an- 
cestry and descent she was a Greek. Thus, 
while Alexandria and the delta of the Nile form- 
ed the scene of the most important events and 
incidents of her history, it was the blood of 
Macedon which flowed in her veins. Her char- 
acter and action are marked by the genius, the 

14 Cleopatra. 

Cleopatra's residence in Egypt. Physical aspect of Egypt. 

courage, the originality, and the impulsiveness 
pertaining to the stock from which she sprung. 
The events of her history, on the other hand, 
and the peculiar character of her adventures, 
her sufferings, and her sins, were determined by 
the circumstances with which she was sur- 
rounded, and the influences which were brought 
to bear upon her in the soft and voluptuous 
clime where the scenes of her early life were 

Egypt has always been considered as physic- 
ally the most remarkable country on the globe. 
It is a long and narrow valley of verdure and 
fruitfulness, completely insulated from the rest 
of the habitable world. It is more completely 
insulated, in fact, than any literal island could- 
be, inasmuch as deserts are more impassable 
than seas. The very existence of Egypt is a 
most extraordinary phenomenon. If we could 
but soar with the wings of an eagle into the air, 
and look down upon the scene, so as to observe 
the operation of that grand and yet simple pro- 
cess by which this long and wonderful valley, 
teeming so profusely with animal and vegetable 
life, has been formed, and is annually revivified 
and renewed, in the midst of surrounding wastes 
of silence, desolation, and death, we should gaze 

The Valley of the Nile. 15 

The eagle's wings and science. 

upon it with never-ceasing admiration and pleas- 
ure. We have not the wings of the eagle, but 
the generalizations of science furnish us with 
a sort of substitute for them. The long series 
of patient, careful, and sagacious observations, 
which have been continued now for two thou- 
sand years, bring us results, by means of which, 
through our powers of mental conception, we 
may take a comprehensive survey of the whole 
scene, analogous, in some respects, to that which 
direct and actual vision would afford us, if we 
could look down upon it from the eagle's point 
of view. It is, however, somewhat humiliating 
to our pride of intellect to reflect that long-con- 
tinued philosophical investigations and learned 
scientific research are, in such a case as this, 
after all, in some sense, only a sort of substitute 
for wings. A human mind connected with a 
pair of eagle's wings would have solved the mys- 
tery of Egypt in a week : whereas science, phi- 
losophy, and research, confined to the surface of 
the ground, have been occupied for twenty cen- 
turies in accomplishing the undertaking. 

It is found at last that both the existence of 
Egypt itself, and its strange insulation in the 
midst of boundless tracts of dry and barren sand, 
depend upon certain remarkable results of the 

16 Cleopatra. 

Physical peculiarities of Egypt connected with the laws of rain. 

general laws of rain. The water w^hich is taken 
up by the atmosphere from the surface of the 
sea and of the land by evaporation, falls again, 
under certain circumstances, in showers of rain, 
the frequency and copiousness of which vary 
very much in different portions of the earth. 
As a general principle, rains are much more fre- 
quent and abundant near the equator than in 
temperate climes, and they grow less and less 
so as we approach the poles. This might nat- 
urally have been expected ; for, under the burn- 
ing sun of the equator, the evaporation of w^ater 
must necessarily go on with immensely greater 
rapidity than in the colder zones, and all the 
w^ater which is taken up must, of course, again 
come down. 

It is not, however, wholly by the latitude of 
the region in which the evaporation takes place 
that the quantity of rain which falls from the 
atmosphere is determined ; for the condition on 
which the falling back, in rain, of the water 
which has been taken up by evaporation mainly 
depends, is the cooling of the atmospheric stra- 
tum which contains it; and this effect is pro- 
duced in very various ways, and many different 
causes operate to modify it. Sometimes the 
stratum is cooled by being wafted over ranges 

The Valley uf the Nile. 17 

General laws of rain. 

of mountains ; sometimes by encountering and 
becoming mingled with cooler currents of air ; 
and sometimes, again, by being driven in winds 
toward a higher, and, consequently, cooler lati- 
tude. If, on the other hand, air moves from 
cold mountains toward warm and sunny plains, 
or from higher latitudes to lower, or if, among 
the various currents into which it falls, it be- 
comes mixed with air warmer than itself, its 
capacity for containing vapor in solution is in- 
creased, and, consequently, instead of releasing 
its hold upon the waters which it has already 
in possession, it becomes thirsty for more. It 
moves over a country, under these circumstan- 
ces, as a warm and drying wind. Under a re- 
verse of circumstances it would have formed 
drifting mists, or, perhaps, even copious showers 
of rain. 

It will be evident, from these considerations, 
that the frequency of the showers, and the quan- 
tity of the rain which will fall, in the various 
regions respectively which the surface of the 
earth presents, must depend on the combined 
influence of many causes, such as the warmth 
of the climate, the proximity and the direction 
of mountains and of seas, the character of the 
prevailing winds, and the reflecting qualities of 

18 Cleopatra. 

Causes which modify the quantity of rain. 

the soil. These ajid other similar causes, it is 
found, do, in fact, produce a vast difference in 
the quantity of rain wliich falls in different re- 
gions. In the northern part of South America, 
where the land is bordered on every hand by 
vast tropical seas, which load the hot and thirsty 
air with vapor, and where the mighty Cordillera 
of the Andes rears its icy summits to chill and 
precipitate the vapors again, a quantity of rain 
amounting to more than ten feet in perpendic- 
ular height falls in a year. At St. Petersburg, 
on the other hand, the quantity thus falling in 
a year is but little more than one foot. The 
immense deluge which pours down from the 
clouds in South America would, if the water 
were to remain where it fell, wholly submerge 
and inundate the country. As it is, in flowing 
off through the valleys to the sea, the united 
torrents form the greatest river on the globe — 
the Amazon ; and the vegetation, stimulated by 
the heat, and nourished by the abundant and 
incessant supplies of moisture, becomes so rank, 
and loads the earth with such an entangled and 
matted mass of trunks, and stems, and twining 
wreaths and vines, that man is almost excluded 
from the scene. The boundless forests become 
a vast and almost impenetrable jungle, aban- 

The Valley of the Nile. 19 

Striking contrasts. Rainless regions. 

doned to wild beasts, noxious reptiles, and huge 
and ferocious birds of prey. 

Of course, the district of St. Petersburg, with 
its icy winter, its low and powerless sun, and 
its twelve inches of annual rain, must necessa- 
rily present, in all its phenomena of vegetable 
and animal life, a striking contrast to the exu- 
berant prolificness of New Grenada. It is, how- 
ever, after all, not absolutely the opposite ex- 
treme. There are certain regions on the sur- 
face of the earth that are actually rainless ; and 
it is these which present us with the true and 
real contrast to the luxuriant vegetation and 
teeming life of the country of the Amazon. In 
these rainless regions all is necessarily silence, 
desolation, and death. No plant can grow ; no 
animal can live. Man, too, is forever and hope- 
lessly excluded. If the exuberant abundance 
of animal and vegetable life shut him out, in 
some measure, from regions which an excess of 
heat and moisture render too prolific, the total 
absence of them still more effectually forbids him 
a home in these. They become, therefore, vast 
wastes of dry and barren sands in which no 
root can find nourishment, and of dreary rocks 
to which not even a lichen can cling. 

The most extensive and remarkable rainless 

20 Cleopatra. 

Great rainless region of Asia and Africa. 

region on the earth is a vast tract extendmg 
through the interior and northern part of Af- 
rica, and the southwestern part of Asia. The 
Ked Sea penetrates into this tract from the 
south, and thus breaks the outline and continu. 
ity of its form, without, however, altering, or 
essentially modifying its character. It divides 
it, however, and to the difierent portions which 
this division forms, different names have been 
given. The Asiatic portion is called Arabia 
Deserta; the African tract has received the 
name of Sahara ; while between these two, in 
the neighborhood of Egypt, the barren region is 
called simply the desert. The whole tract is 
marked, however, throughout, with one all-per- 
vading character : the absence of vegetable, and, 
consequently, of animal life, on account of the 
absence of rain. The rising of a range of lofty 
mountains in the center of it, to produce a pre- 
cipitation of moisture from the air, would prob- 
ably transform the whole of the vast waste into 
as verdant, and fertile, and populous a region 
as any on the globe. 

As it is, there are no such mountains. The 
whole tract is nearly level, and so little eleva- 
ted above the sea, that, at the distance of many 
hundred miles in the interior, the land rises only 

The Valley of the Nile. 


The Andes. 

Map of the ramless region 

to the height of a few hundred feet above the 
surface of the Mediterranean ; whereas in New 
Grenada, at less than one hundred miles from 
the sea, the chain of the Andes rises to eleva- 
tions of from ten to fifteen thousand feet. Such 
an ascent as that of a few hundred feet in hund- 
reds of miles would be wholly hnperceptible to 
any ordinary mode of observation ; and the great 
rainless region, accordingly, of Africa and Asia 



l^j SI L E 


is, as it appears to the traveler, one vast plain, 
a thousand miles wide and five thousand miles 

22 Cleopatra. 

Valley of the Nile. The Red Sea. 

long, with only one considerable interruption to 
the dead monotony which reigns, with that ex- 
ception, every where over the immense expanse 
of silence and solitude. The single interval of 
fruitfalness and life is the valley of the Nile. 

There are, however, in fact, three interrup- 
tions to the continuity of this plain, though only 
one of them constitutes any considerable inter- 
ruption to its barrenness. They are all of theai 
valleys, extending from north to south, and ly- 
ing side by side. The most easterly of these 
valleys is so deep that the waters of the ocean 
flow into it from the south, forming a long and 
narrow inlet called the Red Sea. As this inlet 
communicates freely with the ocean, it is al- 
ways nearly of the same level, and as the evap- 
oration from it is not sufficient to produce rain, 
it does not even fertilize its own shores. Its 
presence varies the dreary scenery of the land- 
scape, it is true, by giving us surging waters to 
look upon instead of driving sands ; but this is 
all. With the exception of the spectacle of an 
English steamer passing, at weary intervals, 
over its dreary expanse, and some moldering re- 
mains of ancient cities on its eastern shore, it 
affords scarcely any indications of life. It does 
very little, therefore, to relieve the monotonous 

The Valley of the Nile. 23 

The oases. Siweh. 

aspect of solitude and desolation which reigns 
over the region into which it has intruded. 

The most westerly of the three valleys to 
which, we have alluded is only a slight depres- 
sion of the surface of the land marked by a line 
of oases. The depression is not sufficient to 
admit the waters of the Mediterranean, nor are 
there any rains over any portion of the valley 
which it forms sufficient to make it the bed of 
a stream. Springs issue, however, here and 
there, in several places, from the ground, and, 
percolating through the sands along the valley, 
give fertility to little dells, long and narrow, 
which, by the contrast that they form with the 
surrounding desolation, seem to the traveler to 
possess the verdure and beauty of Paradise. 
There is a line of these oases extending along 
this westerly depression, and some of them are 
of considerable extent. The oasis of Siweh, on 
wdiich stood the far-famed temple of Jupiter 
Amnion, vras many miles in extent, and was 
said to have contained in ancient times a popu- 
lation of eight thousand souls. Thus, while the 
most easterly of the three valleys which we 
have named was sunk so low as to admit the 
ocean to flow freely into it, the most westerly 
was so slightly depressed that it gained only a 

24 Cleopatra. 

Mountains of the Moon. The River Nile. 

circumscribed and limited fertility through the 
springs, which, in the lowest portions of it, oozed 
from the ground. The third valley — the cen- 
tral one — remains now to be described. 

The reader will observe, by referring once 
more to the map, that south of the great rain- 
less region of which we are speaking, there lie 
groups and ranges of mountains in Abyssinia, 
called the Mountains of the Moon. These 
mountains are near the equator, and the rela- 
tion which they sustain to the surrounding seas, 
and to currents of wind which blow in that quar- 
ter of the world, is such, that they bring down 
from the atmosphere, especially in certain sea- 
sons of the year, vast and continual torrents of 
rain. The water which thus falls drenches the 
mountain sides and deluges the valleys. There 
is a great portion of it which can not flow to 
the southward or eastward toward the sea, as 
the whole country consists, in those directions, 
of continuous tracts of elevated land. The rush 
of water thus turns to the northward, and, press- 
ing on across the desert through the great cen- 
tral valley which we have referred to above, it 
finds an outlet, at last, in the Mediterranean, 
at a point two thousand miles distant from the 
place where the immense condenser drew it 

The Valley of the Nile. 25 

Incessant rains. Inundation of the Nile. 

from the skies. The river thus created is the 
Nile. It is formed, in a word, by the surplus 
waters of a district inundated with rains, in their 
progress across a rainless desert, seeking the sea. 
If the surplus of water upon the Abyssinian 
mountains had been constant and uniform, the 
stream, in its passage across the desert, would 
have comrnunicated very little fertility to the 
barren sands which it traversed. " The imme- 
diate banks of the river would have, perhaps, 
been fringed with verdure, but the influence of 
the irrigation would have extended no further 
than the water itself could have reached, by per- 
colation through the sand. But the flov/ of the 
v/ater is not thus uniform and steady. In a 
certain season of the year the rains are inces- 
sant, and they descend with such abundance 
and profusion as almost to inundate the districts 
where they fall. Immense torrents stream down 
the mountain sides ; the valleys are deluged ; 
plains turn into morasses, and morasses into 
lakes. In a word, the country becomes half 
submerged, and the accumulated mass of wa- 
ters would rush with oreat force and violence 
down the central valley of the desert, which 
forms their only outlet, if the passage were nar- 
row, and if it made anv considerable descent in 

26 Cleopatra. 

Course of the river. Subsidence of the waters, 

its course to the sea. It is, however, not nar- 
row, and the descent is very small. The de- 
pression in the surface of the desert, through 
which the water flows, is from five to ten miles 
wide, and, though it is nearly two thousand 
miles from tlie rainy district across the desert 
to the sea, the country for the whole distance 
is almost level. There is only sufficient de- 
scent, especially for the last thousand miles, to 
determine a very gentle current to the north- 
ward in the waters of the stream. 

Under these circumstances, the immense 
quantity of water which falls in the rainy dis- 
trict in these inundating tropical showers, ex- 
pands over the whole valley, and forms for a 
time an immense lake, extending in length 
across the whole breadth of the desert. This 
lake is, of course, from five to ten miles wide, 
and a thousand miles long. The water in it is 
shallow and turbid, and it has a gentle current 
toward the north. The rains, at length, in a 
great measure cease ; but it requires some 
months for the water to run oft' and leave the 
valley dry. As soon as it is gone, there springs 
up from the whole surface of the ground which 
has been thus submerged a most rank and lux- 
uriant vegetation. 

The Valley of the Nile. 27 

Luxuriant vegetation. Absence of foresta, 

This vegetation, now wholly regulated and 
controlled by the hand of man, must have been, 
in its original and primeval state, of a very pe- 
culiar character. It must have consisted of 
such plants only as could exist under the condi- 
tion of having the soil in which they grew laid, 
for a quarter of the year, wholly under water. 
This circumstance, probably, prevented the val- 
ley of the Nile from having been, like other fer- 
tile tracts of land, encumbered, in its native 
state, with forests. For the same reason, wild 
beasts could never have haunted it. There were 
no forests to shelter them, and no refuge or re- 
treat for them but the dry and barren desert, 
during the period of the annual inundations. 
This most extraordinary valley seems thus to 
have been formed and preserved by Nature her- 
self for the special possession of man. She her- 
self seems to have held it in reserve for him from 
the very morning of creation, refusing admis- 
sion into it to every plant and every animal that 
might hinder or disturb his occupancy and con- 
trol. And if he were to abandon it now for a 
thousand years, and then return to it once more, 
he would find it just as he left it, ready for his 
immediate possession. There would be no wild 
beasts that he must first expel, and no tangled 

28 Cleopatra. 

Great antiquuy of Egypt. Her monuments. 

forests would have sprung up, that his ax must 
first remove. Nature is the husbandman who 
keeps this garden of the world in order, and the 
means and machinery by which she operates 
are the grand evaporating surfaces of the seas, 
the beams of the tropical sun, the lofty summits 
of the Abyssinian mountains, and, as the prod- 
uct and result of all this instrumentality, great 
periodical inundations of summer rain. 

For these or some other reasons Egypt has 
been occupied by man from the most remote an- 
tiquity. The oldest records of the human race, 
made three thousand years ago, speak of Egypt 
as ancient then, when they were written. Not 
only is Tradition silent, but even Fable herself 
does not attempt to tell the story of the origin 
of her population. Here stand the oldest and 
most enduring monuments that human power 
has ever been able to raise. It is, however, 
somewhat humiliating to the pride of the race 
to reflect that the loftiest and proudest, as well 
as the most permanent and stable of all the 
works which man has ever accomplished, are 
but the incidents and adjuncts of a thin stra- 
tum of alluvial fertility, left upon the sands by 
ithe subsiding waters of summer showers. 

The most important portion of the alluvion 

The Valley of the Nile. 


The Delta of the Nile. 


of the Nile is the northern portion," where the 
valley widens and opens toward the sea, form- 
ing a triangular plain of about one hundred 
miles in length on each of the sides, over which 
the waters of the river flow in a great number 
of separate creeks and channels. The whole 
area forms a vast meadow, intersected every 
where with slow-flowing streams of water, and 
presenting on its surface the most enchanting 
pictures of fertility, abundance, and beauty 
This region is called the Delta of the Nile 

80 Cleopatra. 

The Delta as seen from the sea. 

The sea upon the coast is shallow, and the fer- 
tile country formed by the deposits of the river 
seems to have projected somewhat beyond the 
line of the coast ; although, as the land has not 
advanced perceptibly for the last eighteen hund- 
red years, it may be somewhat doubtful wheth- 
er the whole of the apparent protrusion is not 
due to the natural conformation of the coast, 
rather than to any changes made by the action 
of the river. 

The Delta of the Nile is so level itself, and so 
little raised above the level of the Mediterra- 
nean, that the land seems almost a continuation 
of the same surface with the sea, only, instead 
of blue waters topped with white-crested waves, 
v,^e have broad tracts of waving grain, and gen- 
tle swells of land crowned with hamlets and 
villages. In approaching the coast, the navi- 
gator has no distant view of all this verdure and 
beauty. It lies so low that it continues be- 
neath the horizon until the ship is close upon 
the shore. The first landmarks, in fact, which 
the seaman makes, are the tops of trees grow- 
ing apparently out of the water, or the sum- 
mit of an obelisk, or the capital of a pillar, 
marking the site of some ancient and dilapida- 
ted city. 

The Valley of the Nile. 31 

Pelusiac mouth of the Nile. The Canopic mouth. 

The most easterly of the channels by which 
the waters of the river find their way through 
the Delta to the sea, is called, as it will be seen 
marked upon the map, the Pelusiao branch. It 
forms almost the boundary of the fertile region 
of the Delta on the eastern side. There was an 
ancient city named Pelusium near the mouth 
of it. This was, of course, the first Egyptian 
city reached by those who arrived by land from 
the eastward, traveling along the shores of the 
Mediterranean Sea. On account of its thus 
marking the eastern frontier of the country, it 
becar' ^ a point of great importance, and is often 
mentioned in the histories of ancient times. 

The westernmost mouth of the Nile, on the 
other hand, was called the Canopic mouth. The 
distance along the coast from the Canopic mouth 
to Pelusium was about a hundred miles. The 
outline of the coast was formerly, as it still con- 
tinues to be, very irregular, and the water shal- 
low. Extended banks of sand protruded into 
the sea, and the sea itself, as if in retaliation, 
formed innumerable creeks, and inlets, and la- 
goons in the land. Along this irregular and un- 
certain boundary the waters of the Nile and the 
surges of the Mediterranean kept up an eternal 
war, with energies so nearly equal, that now, 

S2 Cleopatra. 

Ancient Egypt. The Pyramids, 

after the lapse of eighteen hundred years since 
the state of the contest began to be recorded, 
neither side has been found to have gained any- 
perceptible advantage over the other. The river 
brings the sands down, and the sea drives them 
incessantly back, keeping the v^hole line of the 
shore in such a condition as to make it extreme- 
ly dangerous and difficult of access to man. 

It will be obvious, from this description of the 
valley of the Nile, that it formed a country which 
was in ancient times isolated and secluded, in 
a very striking manner, from all the rest of the 
world. It was wholly shut in by deserts, on 
every side, by land ; and the shoals, and sand- 
bars, and other dangers of navigation which 
marked the line of the coast, seemed to forbid 
approach by sea. Here it remained for many 
ages, under the rule of its own native ancient 
kings. Its population was peaceful and indus- 
trious. Its scholars were famed throughout the 
world for their learning, their science, and their 
philosophy. It was in these ages, before other 
nations had intruded upon its peaceful seclu- 
sion, that the Pyramids were built, and the 
enormous monoliths carved, and those vast tem- 
ples reared whose ruined columns are now the 
wonder of mankind. During these remote ages, 

B.C.323.] The Valley of the Nile. 33 

Conquests of the Persians and Macedonians. The Ptolemies- 

too, Egypt was, as now, the land of perpetual 
fertility and abundance. There would always 
be corn in Egypt, wherever else famine might 
rage. The neighboring nations and tribes in 
Arabia, Palestine, and Syria, found their way 
to it, accordingly, across the deserts on the east- 
ern side, when driven by want, and thus opened 
a way of communication. At length the Per- 
sian monarchs, after extending their empire 
westward to the Mediterranean, found access 
by the same road to Pelusium, and thence over- 
ran and conquered the country. At last, about 
two hundred and fifty years before the time of 
Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, when he sub- 
verted the Persian empire, took possession of 
Egypt, and annexed it, among the other Per- 
sian provinces, to his own dominions. At the 
division of Alexander's empire, after his death, 
Egypt fell to one of his generals, named Ptol- 
emy. Ptolemy made it his kingdom, and left 
it, at his death, to his heirs. A long line of sov- 
ereigns succeeded him, known in history as the 
dynasty of the Ptolemies — Greek princes, reign- 
ing over an Egyptian realm. Cleopatra was 
the daughter of the eleventh in the line. 

The capital of the Ptolemies was Alexandria 
Until the time of Alexander's conquest, Egypt 

• I, 

34 Cleopatra. [B.C. 323. 

Founding of Alexandria, The Pharos. 

had no sea-port. There were several landing- 
places along the coast, but no proper harbor. 
In fact, Egypt had then so little commercial in- 
tercourse with the rest of the world, that she 
scarcely needed any. Alexander's engineers, 
however, in exploring the shofe, found a point 
not far from the Canopio mouth of the Nile 
v/here the water was deep, and v/here there was 
an anchorage ground protected by an island. 
Alexander founded a city there, which he called 
by his own name. He perfected the harbor by 
artificial excavations and embankments. A 
lofty light-house was reared, which formed a 
landmark by day, and exhibited a blazing star 
by night to guide the galleys of the Mediterra- 
nean in. A canal was made to connect the port 
with the Nile, and warehouses were erected to 
contain the stores of merchandise. In a word, 
Alexandria became at once a great commercial 
capital. It was the seat, for several centuries, 
of the magnificent government of the Ptolemies ; 
and so well was its situation chosen for the pur- 
poses intended, that it still continues, after the 
lapse of twenty centuries of revolution and 
change, one of the principal emporiums of the 
commerce of the East. 

B.C. 358.] The Ptolemies. 35 

The dynasty of the Ptolemies. Its founder. 

Chapter II. 

The Ptolemies. 

ri^HE founder of the dynasty of the Ptole- 
-^ mies — the ruler into whose hands the king- 
dom of Egypt fell, as has already been stated, 
at the death of Alexander the Great — was a 
Macedonian general in Alexander's army. The 
circumstances of his birth, and the events which 
led to his entering into the service of Alexander, 
were somewhat peculiar. His mother, whose 
name was Arsinoe, was a personal favorite and 
companion of Philip, king of Macedon, the fa- 
ther of Alexander. Philip at length gave Arsi- 
noe in marriage to a certain man of his court 
named Lagus. A very short time after the 
marriage, Ptolemy was born. Philip treated 
the child with the same consideration and favor 
that he had evinced toward the mother. The 
boy was called the son of Lagus, but his posi- 
tion in the royal court of Macedon was as high 
and honorable, and the attentions which he re- 
ceived were as great, as he could have expected 
to enjoy if he had been in reality a son of the 

36 Cleopatra. [B.C. 358. 

Philip of Macedon. Alexander. 

king. As he grew up, he attained to official sta- 
tions of considerable responsibility and power. 

In the course of time, a certain transaction 
occurred, by means of which Ptolemy involved 
himself in serious difficulty with Philip, though 
by the same means he made Alexander very 
strongly his friend. There was a province of 
the Persian empire called Caria, situated in the 
southwestern part of Asia Minor. The govern- 
or of this province had offered his daughter to 
Philip as the wife of one of his sons named 
Arideeus, the half brother of Alexander. Alex- 
ander's mother, who was not the mother of Ari- 
dseus, was jealous of this proposed marriage. 
She thought that it was part of a scheme for 
bringing Aridseus forward into public notice, and 
finally making him the heir to Philip's throne ; 
wiiereas she was very earnest that this splendid 
inheritance should be reserved for her own son. 
Accordingly, she proposed to Alexander that 
they should send a secret embassage to the 
Persian governor, and represent to him that it 
would be much better, both for him and for his 
daughter, that she should have Alexander in- 
stead of Aridseus for a husband, and induce 
him, if possible, to demand of Philip that he 
should make the change. 

B.C. 336.] The Ptolemies. 37 

The intrigue discovered. Ptolemy banished. 

Alexander entered readily into this scheme, 
and various courtiers, Ptolemy among the rest, 
undertook to aid him in the accomplishment of 
it. The embassy -was sent. The governor of 
Caria was very much pleased with the change 
which they proposed to him. In fact, the whole 
plan seemed to be going on very successfully 
toward its accomplishment, when, by some 
means or other, Philip discovered the intrigue. 
He went immediately into Alexander's apart- 
ment, highly excited with resentment and an- 
ger. He had never intended to make Aridseus, 
whose birth on the mother's side was obscure 
and ignoble, the heir to his throne, and he re- 
proached Alexander in the bitterest terms for 
being of so debased and degenerate a spirit as 
to desire to marry the daughter of a Persian 
governor ; a man who was, in fact, the mere 
slave, as he said, of a barbarian king. 

Alexander's scheme was thus totally defeat- 
ed ; and so displeased was his father with the 
officers who had undertaken to aid him in the 
execution of it, that he banished them all from 
the kingdom. Ptolemy, in consequence of this 
decree, wandered about an exile from his coun- 
try for some years, until at length the death of 
Philip enabled Alexander to recall him. Alex- 

38 Cleopatra. [B.C. 336. 

Accession of Alexander. Ptolemy's elevation, 

ander succeeded his father as King of Macedon, 
and immediately made Ptolemy one of his prin- 
cipal generals. Ptolemy rose, in fact, to a very 
high command in the Macedonian army, and 
distinguished himself very greatly in all the 
celebrated conqueror's subsequent campaigns. 
In the Persian invasion, Ptolemy commanded 
one of the three grand divisions of the army, 
and he rendered repeatedly the most signal 
services to the cause of his master. He vras 
employed on the most distant and dangerous 
enterprises, and was often intrusted vi^ith the 
management of affairs of the utmost import- 
ance. He was very successful in all his under- 
takings. He conquered armies, reduced fort- 
resses, negotiated treaties, and evinced, in a 
word, the highest degree of military energy 
and skill. He once saved Alexander's life by 
discovering and revealing a dangerous conspir- 
acy which had been formed against the king. 
Alexander had the opportunity to requite this 
favor, through a divine interposition vouchsafed 
to him, it was said, for the express purpose of 
enabling him to evince his gratitude. Ptolemy 
had been wounded by a poisoned arrow, and 
when all the remedies and antidotes of the 
phyeiciaijs had failed, and the patient was ap- 

B.C. 323.] The Ptolemies. 39 

Death of Alexander. Ptolemy becomes King of Egypt 

parently about to die, an effectual means of 
cure was revealed to Alexander in a dream, and 
Ptolemy, in his turn, was saved. 

At the great rejoicings at Susa, when Alex- 
ander's conquests were completed, Ptolemy was 
honored with a golden crown, and he was mar- 
ried, with great pomp and ceremony, to Arta- 
cama, the daughter of one of the most distin- 
guished Persian generals. 

At length Alexander died suddenly, after a 
night of drinking and carousal at Babylon. He 
had no son old enough to succeed him, and his 
immense empire was divided among his gener- 
als. Ptolemy obtained Egypt for his share. He 
repaired immediately to Alexandria, with a 
great army, and a great num_ber of Greek at- 
tendants and followers, and there commenced a 
reign which continued, in great prosperity and 
splendor, for forty years. The native Egyp- 
tians were reduced, of course, to subjection and 
bondage. All the offices in the army, and all 
stations of trust and responsibility in civil life, 
were filled by Greeks. Alexandria was a Greek 
city, and it became at once one of the most im- 
portant commercial centers in all those seas. 
Greek and Roman travelers found now a lan- 
guage spoken in Egypt which they could uo- 

40 Cleopatra. fB.C. 323. 

Character of Ptolemy's reign. The Alexandrian library. 

derstand, and philosophers and scholars could 
gratify the curiosity which they had so long 
felt, in respect to the institutions, and monu- 
ments, and wonderful physical characteristics 
of the country, with safety and pleasure. In a 
word, the organization of a Greek government 
over the ancient kingdom, and the establishment 
of the great commercial relations of the city of 
Alexandria, conspired to bring Egypt out from 
its concealment and seclusion, and to open it in 
some measure to the intercourse, as well as to 
bring it more fully under the observation, of 
the rest of mankind. 

Ptolemy, in fact, made it a special object of 
his policy to accomplish these ends. He invit- 
ed Greek scholars, philosophers, poets, and art- 
ists, in great numbers, to come to Alexandria, 
and to make his capital their abode. He col- 
lected an immense library, which subsequently, 
under the name of the Alexandrian library, be- 
came one of the most celebrated collections of 
books and manuscripts that was ever made. 
We shall have occasion to refer more particu- 
larly to this library in the next chapter. 

Besides prosecuting these splendid schemes 
for the aggrandizement of Egypt, King Ptole- 
my was engaged, during almost the whole pe- 

B.C. 283.] The Ptolemies. 41 

Abdication of Ptolemy. Ptolemy Philadelphus. 

riod of his reign, in waging incessant wars with 
the surrounding nations. He engaged in these 
wars, in part, for the purpose of extending the 
boundaries of his empire, and in part for self- 
defense against the aggressions and encroach- 
ments of other powers. He finally succeeded 
in establishing his kingdom on the most stable 
and permanent basis, and then, when he was 
drawing toward the close of his life, being in 
fact over eighty years of age, he abdicated his 
throne in favor of his youngest son, whose name 
was also Ptolemy. Ptolemy the father, the 
founder of the dynasty, is known commonly in 
history by the name of Ptolemy Soter. His 
son is called Ptolemy Philadelphus. This son, 
though the youngest, was preferred to his broth- 
ers as heir to the throne on account of his being 
the son of the most favored and beloved of the 
monarch's wives. The determination of Soter 
to abdicate the throne himself arose from his 
wish to put this favorite son in secure possession 
of it before his death, in order to prevent the 
older brothers from disputing the succession. 
The coronation of Philadelphus was made one 
of the most magnificent and imposing ceremo- 
nies that royal pomp and parade ever arranged. 
Two years afterward Ptolemy the father died, 

42 Cleopatra. [B.C. 283. 

Death of Ptolemy. Subsequent degeneracy of the Ptolemies. 

and was buried by his son with a magnificence 
ahuost equal to that of his own coronation. His 
body was deposited in a splendid mausoleum, 
which had been built for the remains of Alex- 
ander ; and so high was the veneration which 
was felt by mankind for the greatness of his ex- 
ploits and the splendor of his reign, that divine 
honors were paid to his memory. Such was 
the origin of the great dynasty of the Ptolemies. 
Some of the early sovereigns of the line fol- 
lowed in some degree the honorable example set 
them by the distinguished founder of it; but 
this example was soon lost, and was succeeded 
by the most extreme degeneracy and debase- 
ment. The successive sovereigns began soon 
to live and to reign solely for the gratification 
of their own sensual propensities and passions. 
Sensuality begins sometimes with kindness, but 
it ends always in the most reckless and intoler- 
able cruelty. The Ptolemies became, in the 
end, the most abominable and terrible tyrants 
that the principle of absolute and irresponsible 
power ever produced. There was one vice in 
particular, a vice which they seem to have 
adopted from the Asiatic nations of the Persian 
empire, that resulted in the most awful conse- 
quences. This vice was incest. 

B.C. 170.] The Ptolemies. 43 

Incestuous marriages of the Ptolemy family. 

The law of God, proclaimed not only in the 
Scriptures, but in the native instincts of the hu- 
man soul, forbids intermarriages among those 
connected by close ties of consanguinity. The 
necessity for such a law rests on considerations 
which can not here be fully explained. They 
are considerations, however, which arise from 
causes inherent in the very nature of man as a 
social being, and which are of universal, per- 
petual, and insurmountable force. To guard 
his creatures against the deplorable consequen- 
ces, both physical and moral, which result from 
the practice of such marriages, the great Au- 
thor of Nature has implanted in every mind 
an instinctive sense of their criminality, pow- 
erful enough to give effectual warning of the 
danger, and so universal as to cause a distinct 
condemnation of them to be recorded in almost 
every code of written law that has ever been 
promulgated among mankind. The Persian 
sovereigns were, however, above all law^, and 
every species of incestuous marriage was prac- 
ticed by them without shame. The Ptolemies 
followed their example. 

One of the most striking exhibitions of the 
nature of incestuous domestic life which is af- 
forded by the w^hole dismal panorama of pagan 

44 Cleopatra. [B.C. 170. 

Ptolemy Pliyscon. Origin of his name. 

vice and crime, is presented in the history of 
the great-grandfather of the Cleopatra who is 
the principal subject of this narrative. He was 
Ptolemy Physcon, the seventh in the line. It 
it is necessary to give some particulars of his 
history and that of his family, in order to ex- 
plain the circumstances under which Cleopatra 
herself came upon the stage. The name Phys- 
con, which afterward became his historical des- 
ignation, was originally given him in contempt 
and derision. He was very small of stature in 
respect to height, but his gluttony and sensual- 
ity had made him immensely corpulent in body, 
so that he looked more like a monster than a 
man. The term Physcon was a Greek word, 
which denoted opprobiously the ridiculous fig- 
ure that he made. ^ 

The circumstances of Ptolemy Physcon's ac- 
cession to the throne afford not only a striking 
illustration of his character, but a very faithful 
though terrible picture of the manners and mor- 
als of the times. He had been engaged in a 
long and cruel war with his brother, who wa?) 
king before him, in which war he had perpe- 
trated all imaginable atrocities, when at length 
his brother died, leaving as his survivors his 
wife, who was also his sister, and a son who 

B.C. 170.] The Ptolemies. 45 

Circumstances of Physcon's accession. Cleopatra. 

was yet a child. This son was properly the 
heir to the crown. Physcon himself, being a 
brother, had no claim, as against a son. The 
name of the queen was Cleopatra. This was, 
in fact, a very common name among the prin- 
cesses of the Ptolemaic line. Cleopatra, be- 
sides her son, had a daughter, who was at this 
time a young and beautiful girl. Her name 
was also Cleopatra. She was, of course, the 
niece, as her mother was the sister, of Physcon. 
The plan of Cleopatra the mother, after her 
husband's death, was to make her son the king 
of Egypt, and to govern herself, as regent, un- 
til he should become of age. The friends and 
adherents of Physcon, however, formed a strong 
party in his favor. They sent for him to come 
to Alexandria to assert his claims to the throne. 
He came, and a new civil war was on the point 
of breaking out between the brother and sister, 
when at length the dispute was settled by a 
treaty, in which it was stipulated that Phys- 
con should marry Cleopatra, and be king; but 
that he should make the son of Cleopatra by 
her former husband his heir. This treaty was 
carried into effect so far as the celebration of 
the marriage with the mother was concerned, 
and the establishment of Physcon upon the 

46 Cleopatra. [B.C. 170. 

Physcon's brutal perfidy. He marries his wife's daughter. 

throne. But the perfidious monster, instead of 
keeping his faith in respect to the boy, determ- 
ined to murder him ; and so open and brutal 
were his habits of violence and cruelty, that he 
undertook to perpetrate the deed himself, in 
open day. The boy fled shrieking to the moth- 
er's arms for protection, and Physcon stabbed 
and killed him there, exhibiting the spectacle 
of a newly-married husband murdering the son 
of his wife in her very arms ! 

It is easy to conceive Vv^iat sort of affection 
would exist between a husband and a wife after 
such transactions as these. In fact, there had 
been no love between them from the beginning. 
The marriage had been solely a political arrange- 
ment. Physcon hated his wife, and had mur- 
dered her son, and then, as if to complete the 
exhibition of the brutal lawlessness and capri- 
ciousness of his passions, he ended with falling 
in love with her daughter. The beautiful girl 
looked upon this heartless monster, as ugly and 
deformed in body as he was in mind, with ab- 
solute horror. But she was wholly in his power. 
He compelled her, by violence, to submit to his 
will. He repudiated the mother, and forced 
tlie daughter to become his wife. 

Physcon displayed the same qualities of bru 

B.C. 170.] The Ptolemies. 47 

Ati-ocities of Physcon. His flight. 

tal tyranny and cruelty in the treatment of his 
subjects that he manifested in his own domestic 
relations. The particulars we can not here give, 
but can only say that his atrocities became at 
length absolutely intolerable, and a revolt so 
formidable broke out, that he fled from the 
country. In fact, he barely escaped v/ith his 
life, as the mob had surrounded the palace and 
were setting it on fire, intending to l3urn the 
tyrant himself and all the accomplices of his 
crimes together. Physcon, however, contrived 
to make his escape. He fled to the island of 
Cyprus, taking with him a certain beautiful 
boy, his son by the Cleopatra whom he had di- 
vorced ; for they had been married long enough, 
before the divorce, to have a son. The name 
of this boy was Memphitis. His mother was 
very tenderly attached to him, and Physcon 
took him away on this very account, to keep 
him as a hostage for his mother's good behav- 
ior. He fancied that, when he was gone, she 
might possibly attempt to resume possession of 
the throne. 

His expectations in this respect were realized. 
The people of Alexandria rallied around Cleo- 
patra, and called upon her to take the crown. 
She did so, feeling, perhaps, some misgivings in 

48 Cleopatra. [B.C. 130. 

Cleopatra assumes the government. Her birth-day. 

respect to the danger which such a step might 
possibly bring upon her absent boy. She quiet- 
ed herself, however, by the thought that he was 
in the hands of his own father, and that he 
could not possibly come to harm. 

After some little time had elapsed, and Cle- 
opatra was beginning to be well established in 
her possession of the supreme power at Alex- 
andria, her birth-day approached, and arrange- 
ments were made for celebrating it in the most 
magnificent manner. When the day arrived, 
the whole city was given up to festivities and 
rejoicing. Grand entertainments were given in 
the palace, and games, spectacles, and plays in 
every variety, were exhibited and performed in 
all quarters of the city. Cleopatra herself was 
enjoying a magnificent entertainment, given to 
the lords and ladies of the court and the officers 
of her army, in one of the royal palaces. 

In the midst of this scene of festivity and 
pleasure, it was announced to the queen that a 
large box had arrived for her. The box was 
brought into the apartment. It had the appear- 
ance of containing some magnificent present, 
sent in at that time by some friend in honor of 
the occasion. The curiosity of the queen was 
excited to know what the mysterious coffer 

ilC. 130.] The Ptolemies. 51 

Barbarity of Physcon. Grief of Cleopatra. 

might contain. She ordered it to be opened ; 
and the guests gathered around, each eager to 
obtain the first gUmpse of the contents. The 
lid was removed, and a cloth beneath it was 
raised, when, to the unutterable horror of all 
who witnessed the spectacle, there was seen the 
head and hands of Cleopatra's beautiful boy, 
lying among masses of human flesh, which con- 
sisted of the rest of his body cut into pieces. 
The head had been left entire, that the wretch- 
ed mother might recognize in the pale and life- 
less features the countenance of her son. Phys- 
con had sent the box to Alexandria, with orders 
that it should be retained until the evening of 
the birth -day, and then presented publicly to 
Cleopatra in the midst of the festivities of the 
scene. The shrieks and cries with which she 
filled the apartments of the palace at the first 
sight of the dreadful spectacle, and the agony 
of long-continued and inconsolable grief which 
followed, showed how well the cruel contrivance 
of the tyrant was fitted to accomplish its end. 

It gives us no pleasure to write, and we are 
sure it can give our readers no pleasure to pe- 
ruse, such shocking stories of bloody cruelty as 
these. It is necessary, however, to a just ap- 
preciation of the character of the great subject 

52 Cleopatra. [B.C. 117. 

General character of the Ptolemy family. 

of this history, that we should understand the 
nature of the domestic influences that reigned 
in the family from which she sprung. In fact, 
it is due, as a matter of simple justice to her, 
that w^e should know what these influences 
were, and what were the examples set before 
her in her early life ; since the privileges and 
advantages which the young enjoy in their ear- 
ly years, and, on the other hand, the evil influ- 
ences under which they suffer, are to be taken 
very seriously into the account when we are 
passing judgment upon the follies and sins into 
which they subsequently fall. 

The monster Physcon lived, it is true, two or 
three generations before the great Cleopatra ; 
but the character of the intermediate genera- 
tions, until the time of her birth, continued 
much the same. In fact, the cruelty, corrup- 
tion, and vice which reigned in every branch of 
the royal family increased rather than dimin- 
ished. The beautiful niece of Physcon, who, at 
the time of her compulsory marriage with him, 
evinced such an aversion to the monster, had 
become, at the period of her husband's death, as 
great a monster of ambition, selfishness, and 
cruelty as he. She had two sons, Lathyrus and 
Alexander. Physcon, when he died, left the 

B.C. 117.] The Ptolemies. 53 

Lathyrus. Terrible quarrels with Iiis mother. 

kingdom of Egypt to her by will, authorizing 
her to associate with her in the government 
whichever of these two sons she might choose. 
The oldest was best entitled to this privilege, 
by his priority of birth ; but she preferred the 
youngest, as she thought that her own power 
would be more absolute in reigning in conjunc- 
tion with him, since he would be more com- 
pletely under her control. The leading powers, 
however, in Alexandria, resisted this plan, and 
insisted on Cleopatra's associating her oldest 
son, Lathyrus, with her in the government of 
the realm. They compelled her to recall Lath- 
yrus from the banishment into which she had 
sent him, and to put him nominally upon the 
throne. Cleopatra yielded to this necessity, but 
she forced her son to repudiate his wife, and to 
take, instead, another woman, whom she fancied 
she could make more subservient to her will. 
The mother and the son went on together for a 
time, Lathyrus being nominally king, though 
her determination that she would rule, and his 
struggles to resist her intolerable tyranny, made 
their wretched household the scene of terrible 
and perpetual quarrels. At last Cleopatra seiz- 
ed a number of Lathyrus's servants, the eu- 
nuchs who were employed in "arious offices 

54 Cleopatra. [B.C. 117. 

Cruelties of Cleopatra. Alexander kills her. 

about the palace, and after wounding and mu- 
tilating them in a horrible manner, she exhib- 
ited them to the populace, saying that it was 
Lathyrus that had inflicted the cruel injuries 
upon the sufferers, and calling upon them to 
arise and punish him for his crimes. In this 
and in other similar ways she awakened among 
the people of the court and of the city such an 
animosity against Lathyrus, that they expelled 
him from the country. There followed a long 
series of cruel and bloody wars between the 
mother and the son, in the course of which each 
party perpetrated against the other almost ev- 
ery imaginable deed of atrocity and crime. Al- 
exander, the youngest son, was so afraid of his 
terrible mother, that he did not dare to remain 
in Alexandria with her, but went into a sort of 
banishment of his own accord. He, however, 
finally returned to Egypt. His mother imme- 
diately supposed that he w^as intending to dis- 
turb her possession of power, and resolved to de- 
stroy him. He became acquainted with her 
designs, and, grown desperate by the long-con- 
tinued pressure of her intolerable tyranny, he 
resolved to bring the anxiety and terror in which 
he lived to an end by killing her. This he did, 
and then fled the country. Lathyrus. his broth- 

B.C. 117.] The Ptolemies. 55 

Cleopatra a type of the family. Her two daughters. 

er, then returned, and reigned for the rest of 
his days in a tolerable degree of quietness and 
peace. At length Lathyrus died, and left the 
kingdom to his son, Ptolemy Auletes, who was 
the great Cleopatra's father. 

We can not soften the picture which is ex- 
hibited to our view in the history of this cele- 
brated family, by regarding the mother of Au- 
letes, in the masculine and merciless traits and 
principles which she displayed so energetically 
throughout her terrible career, as an exception 
to the general character of the princesses who 
appeared from time to time in the line. In am- 
bition, selfishness, unnatural and reckless cru- 
elty, and utter disregard of every virtuous prin- 
ciple and of every domestic tie, she was but the 
type and representative of all the rest. 

She had two daughters, for example, who were 
the consistent and worthy followers of such a 
mother. A passage in the lives of these sisters 
illustrates very forcibly the kind of sisterly af- 
fection which prevailed in the family of the 
Ptolemies. The case was this : 

There were two princes of Syria, a country 
lying northeast of the Mediterranean Sea, and 
so not very far from Egypt, who, though they 
were brothers, were in a state of most deadly 

56 Cleopatra. [B.C. 101. 

Unnatural war. Tryphena's hatred of her sister. 

hostility to each other. One had attempted to 
poison the other, and afterward a war had bro- 
ken out between them, and all Syria was suf- 
fering from the ravages of their armies. One 
of the sisters, of whom we have been speaking, 
married one of these princes. Her name was 
Tryphena. After some time, but yet while the 
unnatural war was still raging between the two 
brothers, Cleopatra, the other sister — the same 
Cleopatra, in fact, that had been divorced from 
Lathyrus at the instance of his mother — es- 
poused the other brother. Tryphena was ex- 
ceedingly incensed against Cleopatra for mar- 
rying her husband's mortal foe, and the implac- 
able hostility and hate of the sisters was thence- 
forth added to that w^hich the brothers had be- 
fore exhibited, to complete the display of unnat- 
ural and parricidal passion v/hich this shameful 
contest presented to the v/orld. 

In fact, Tryphena from this time seemed to 
feel a new and highly-excited interest in the 
contest, from her eager desire to revenge her- 
self on her sister. She watched the progress 
of it, and took an active part in pressing for- 
ward the active prosecution of the war. The 
party of her husband, either from this or some 
other causes, seemed to be gaining the day. 

B.C. 101.] The Ptolemies. 57 

Taking of Antioch. Cleopatra flees to a temple. 

The husband of Cleopatra was driven from one 
part of the country to another, and at length, 
in order to provide for the security of his wife, 
he left her in Antioch, a large and strongly- 
fortified city, where he supposed that she would 
be safe, while he himself was engaged in prose- 
cuting the war in other quarters where his pres- 
ence seemed to be required. 

On learning that her sister was at Antioch, 
Tryphena urged her husband to attack the place. 
He accordingly advanced with a strong detach- 
ment of the army, and besieged and took the 
city. Cleopatra would, of course, have fallen 
into his hands as a captive ; but, to escape this 
fate, she fled to a temple for refuge. A temple 
was considered, in those days, an inviolable sanc- 
tuary. The soldiers accordingly left her there. 
Tryphena, however, made a request that her 
husband would deliver the unhappy fugitive 
into her hands. She was determined, she said, 
to kill her. Her husband remonstrated with 
her against this atrocious proposal. " It would 
be a wholly useless act of cruelty," said he, " to 
destroy her life, She can do us no possible harm 
in the future progress of the war, while to mur- 
der her under these circumstances will only ex- 
asperate her husband and her friends, and nerve 

58 Cleopatra. [B.C. 101. 

Jealousy of Tryphena. Her resentment increases. 

them with new strength for the remainder of 
the contest. And then, besides, she has taken 
refuge in a temple ; and if we violate that sanc- 
tuary, we shall incur, by such an act of sacri- 
lege, the implacable displeasure of heaven. Con- 
sider, too, that she is your sister, and for you to 
kill her would be to commit an unnatural and 
wholly inexcusable crime." 

So saying, he commanded Tryphena to say 
no more upon the subject, for he would on no 
account consent that Cleopatra should suffer 
any injury whatever. 

This refusal on the part of her husband to 
comply with her request only inflamed Try- 
phena's insane resentment and anger the more 
In fact, the earnestness with which he espoused 
her sister's cause, and the interest which he 
seemed to feel in her fate, aroused Tryphena's 
jealousy. She believed, or pretended to believe, 
that her husband was influenced by a sentiment 
of love in so warmly defending her. The ob- 
ject of her hate, from being simply an enemy, 
became now, in her view, a rival, and she re- 
solved that, at all hazards, she should be de- 
stroyed. She accordingly ordered a body of des- 
perate soldiers to break into the temple- and 
seize her. Cleopatra fled in terror to the altar, 

BC.90.] The Ptolemies. 59 

Cruel and sacrilegious murder. 

and clung to it with such convulsive force that 
the soldiers cut her hands off before they could 
tear her away, and then, maddened by her re- 
sistance and the sight of blood, they stabbed her 
again and again upon the floor of the temple, 
where she fell. The appalling shrieks with 
which the wretched victim filled the air in the 
first moments of her flight and her terror, sub- 
sided, as her life ebbed away, into the most 
awful imprecations of the judgments of heaven 
upon the head of the unnatural sister whose 
implacable hate had destroyed her. 

Notwithstanding the specimens that we have 
thus given of the character and action of this 
extraordinary family, the government of this dy- 
nasty, extending, as it did, through the reigns of 
thirteen sovereigns and over a period of nearly 
three hundred years, has always been considered 
one of the most liberal, enlightened, and ^pros- 
perous of all the governments of ancient times 
We shall have something to say in the next 
chapter in respect to the internal condition of 
the country while these violent men were upon 
the throne. In the mean time, we will here only 
add, that whoever is inclined, in observing the 
ambition, the selfishness, the party spirit, the 

60 Cleopatra. [B.C. 90. 

The moral condition of mankind not degenerating. 

unworthy intrigues, and the irregularities of 
moral conduct, which modern rulers and states- 
men sometimes exhibit to mankind in their per- 
sonal and political career, to believe in a retro- 
gression and degeneracy of national character 
as the world advances in age, will be very ef- 
fectually undeceived by reading attentively a 
full history of this celebrated dynasty, and re- 
flecting, as he reads, that the narrative presents, 
on the whole, a fair and honest exhibition of the 
general character of the men by whom, in an* 
cient times, the world was governed. 

AlexajNdria. G1 

Internal administration of the Ptolemies. 

Chapteh hi. 


T must not be imagined by the reader that 
the scenes of vicious indulgence, and reck- 
less cruelty ^and crime, which were exhibited 
with such dreadful frequency, and carried to 
such an enormous excess in the palaces of the 
Egyptian kings, prevailed to the same extent 
throughout the mass of the community during 
the period of their reign. The internal admin- 
istration of government, and the institutions by 
which the industrial pursuits of the mass of the 
people were regulated, and peace and order pre- 
served, and justice enforced between man and 
man, were all this time in the hands of men 
well qualified, on the whole, for the trusts com- 
mitted to their charge, and in a good degree 
faithful in the performance of their duties ; and 
thus the ordinary affairs of government, and the 
general routine of domestic and social life, went 
on, notwithstanding the profligacy of the kings, 
in a course of very tolerable peace, prosperity, 
and happiness. During every one of the three 

62 Cleopatra. 

Industry of the people. Its happy eflfects, 

hundred years over which the history of the 
Ptolemies extends, the whole length and breadth 
of the land of Egypt exhibited, with compara- 
tively few interruptions, one wide-spread scene 
of busy industry. The inundations came at 
their appointed season, and then regularly re- 
tired. The boundless fields which the waters 
had fertihzed were then every where tilled. 
The lands were plowed ; the seed was sown ; 
the canals and water-courses, which ramified 
from the river in every direction over the 
ground, were opened or closed, as the case re- 
quired, to regulate the irrigation. The inhab- 
itants were busy, and, consequently, they were 
virtuous. And as the sky of Egypt is seldom 
or never darkened by clouds and storms, the 
scene presented to the eye the same unchang- 
ing aspect of smiling verdure and beauty, day 
after day, and month after month, until the rip- 
ened grain was gathered into the store-houses, 
and the land was cleared for another inundation. 
We say that the people were virtuous be- 
cause they were busy ; for there is^tio principle 
of political economy more fully established than 
that vice in the social state is the incident and 
symptom of idleness. It prevails always in those 
classes of every great nopulation who are either 

Alexandria, 63 

Idleness the parent of vice. An idle aristocracy generally vicious. 

released by the possession of fixed and un- 
changeable wealth from the necessity, or ex- 
cluded by their poverty and degradation from 
the advantage, of useful employment. Wealth 
that is free, and subject to its possessor's con- 
trol, so that he can, if he will, occupy himself in 
the management of it, while it sometimes may 
make individuals vicious, does not generally 
corrupt classes of men, for it does not make 
them idle. But wherever the institutions of a 
country are such as to create an aristocratic 
class, whose incomes depend on entailed estates, 
or on fixed and permanent annuities, so that the 
capital on which they live can not afford them 
any mental occupation, they are doomed neces- 
sarily to inaction and idleness. Vicious pleas- 
ures and indulgences are, with such a class as 
a whole, the inevitable result ; for the innocent 
enjoyments of man are planned and designed by 
the Author of nature only for the intervals of 
rest and repose in a life of activity. They are 
always found wholly insufficient to satisfy one 
who makes pleasure the whole end and aim of 
his being. 

In the same manner, if, either from the influ- 
ence of the social institutions of a country, or 
from the operation of natural causes which hu- 

64 Cleopatra. 

Degradation and. vice. Employment a cure for both. 

man power is unable to control, there is a class 
of men too low, and degraded, and miserable to 
be reached by the ordinary inducements to daily 
toil, so certain are they to grow corrupt and de- 
praved, that degradation has become in all lan- 
guages a term almost synonymous with vice. 
There are many exceptions, it is true, to these 
general laws. Many active men are very wick- 
ed ; and there have been frequent instances of 
the most exalted virtue among nobles and kings. 
Still, as a general law, it is unquestionably true 
that vice is the incident of idleness ; and the 
sphere of vice, therefore, is at the top and at the 
bottom of society — those being the regions in 
which idleness reigns. The great remedy, too, 
for vice is employment. To make a commu- 
nity virtuous, it is essential that all ranks and 
gradations of it, from the highest to the lowest, 
should have something to do. 

In aceordance with these principles, we ob- 
serve that, while the most extreme and abom- 
inable wickedness seemed to hold continual and 
absolute sway in the palaces of the Ptolemies, 
and among the nobles of their courts, the work- 
ing ministers of state, and the men on whom 
the actual governmental functions devolved, dis- 
charged their duties w^ith wisdom and fidelity, 

Alexandria. 65 

Greatness of Alexandria. Situation of its port. 

and throughout all the ordinary ranks and gra- 
dations of society there prevailed generally a 
very considerable degree of industry, prosperity, 
and happiness. This prosperity prevailed not 
only in the rural districts of the Delta and along 
the valley of the Nile, but also among the mer- 
chants, and navigators, and artisans of Alex- 

Alexandria became, in fact, very soon after 

it V7as founded, a very great and busy city. 

Many things conspired to make it at once a 

great commercial emporium. In the first place, 

it was the depot of export for all the surplus 

grain and other agricultural produce which was 

raised in such abundance along the Egyptian 

valley. This produce was brought down in 

boats to the upper point of the Delta, where the 

branches of the river divided, and thence down 

the Canopio branch to the city. The city was 

not, in fact, situated directly upon this branch, 

but upon a narrow tongue of land, at a little 

distance from it, near the sea. It was not easy 

to enter the channel directly, on account of the 

bars and sand-banks at its mouth, produced by 

the eternal conflict between the waters of the 

river and the surges of the sea. The water 

was deep, however, as Alexander's engineers 


66 Cleopatra. 

Warehouses and granaries. Business of the port. 

had discovered, at the place where the city was 
built, and, by establishing the port there, and 
then cutting a canal across to the Nile, they 
were enabled to bring the river and the sea at 
once into easy communication. 

The produce of the valley was thus brought 
down the river and through the canal to the 
city. Here immense warehouses and granaries 
were erected for its reception, that it might be 
safely preserved until the ships that came into 
the port were ready to take it away. These 
ships came from Syria, from all the coasts of 
Asia Minor, from Greece, and from Rome 
They brought the agricultural productions of 
their own countries, as well as articles of man- 
ufacture of various kinds ; these they sold to 
the merchants of Alexandria, and purchased 
the productions of Egypt in return. 

The port of Alexandria presented thus a con- 
stant picture of life and animation. Merchant 
ships were continually coming and going, or 
lying at anchor in the roadstead. Seamen were 
hoisting sails, or raising anchors, or rowing their 
capacious galleys through the water, singing, as 
they pulled, to the motion of the oars. Within 
the city there was the same ceaseless activity. 
Here groups of men were unloading the canal 


Alexandria. 67 

Scenes within the city. The natives protected in their industry. 

boats which had arrived from the river. There 
porters were transporting bales of merchandise 
or sacks of grain from a warehouse to a pier, 
or from one landing to another. The occasion- 
al parading of the king's guards, or the arrival 
and departure of ships of war to land or to take 
away bodies of armed men, were occurrences 
that sometimes intervened to interrupt, or as 
perhaps the people then would have said, to 
adorn this scene of useful industry ; and now 
and then, for a brief period, these peaceful avo- 
cations would be wholly suspended and set aside 
by a revolt or by a civil war, waged by rival 
brothers against each other, or instigated by the 
conflicting claims of a mother and son. These 
interruptions, however, were comparatively few, 
and, in ordinary cases, not of long continuance. 
It was for the interest of all branches of the 
royal line to do as little injury as possible to the 
commercial and agricultural operations of the 
realm. In fact, it was on the prosperity of those 
operations that the revenues depended. The 
rulers were well aware of this, and so, however 
implacably two rival princes may have hated 
one another, and however desperately each party 
may have struggled to destroy all active com- 
batants whom they should find in arms against 

68 Cleopatra. 

Public edifices. The light-house. 

them, they were both under every possible in- 
ducement to spare the private property and the J 
lives of the peaceful population. This popula- i 
tion, in fact, engaged thus in profitable indus- 
try, constituted, with the avails of their labors, 
the very estate for which the combatants were 

Seeing the subject in this light, the Egyptian 
sovereigns, especially Alexander and the earlier 
Ptolemies, made every effort in their power to 
promote the commercial greatness of Alexan- 
dria. They built palaces, it is true, but they 
also built warehouses. One of the most expen- 
sive and celebrated of all the edifices that they 
reared was the light-house which has been al- 
ready alluded to. This light-house was a lofty 
tower, built of white marble. It was situated 
upon the island of Pharos, opposite to the city, 
and at some distance from it. There was a 
sore of isthmus of shoals and sand-bars connect- 
ing the island with the shore. Over these shal- 
lows a pier or causeway was built, which final- 
ly became a broad and inhabited neck. The 
principal part of the ancient city, however, was 
on the main land.t 

* See Map of the Delta of the Nile, page 29 ; also the View 
of Alexandria, page 162. 


RC. 283.] Alexandria. 69 

Fame of the light-house. Its conspicuous position 

The curvature of the earth requires that a 
light-house on a coast should have a consider- 
able elevation, otherwise its summit would not 
appear above the horizon, unless the mariner 
were very near. To attain this elevation, the 
architects usually take advantage of some hill or 
cliff, or rocky eminence near the shore. There 
was, however, no opportunity to do this at Pha- 
ros ; for the island was, like the main land, level 
and low. The requisite elevation could only be 
attained, therefore, by the masonry of an edi- 
fice, and the blocks of marble necessary for the 
work had to be brought from a great distance. 
The Alexandrian light-house was reared in the 
time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second mon- 
arch in the line. No pains or expense w^ere 
spared in its construction. The edifice, when 
completed, was considered one of the seven won- 
ders of the world. It was indebted for its fame, 
however, in some degree, undoubtedly to the 
conspicuousness of its situation, rising, as it did. 
at the entrance of the greatest commercial em- 
porium of its time, and standing there, like a 
pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, to 
attract the welcome gaze of every wandering 
mariner whose ship came within its horizon, 
and to awaken his gratitude by tendering him 
its guidance and dispelling his fears. 

70 Cleopatra. [B.C. 283. 

Mode of lighting the tower. Modern method. 

The light at the top of the tower was pro- 
duced by a fire, made of such combustibles as 
would emit the brightest flame. This fire 
burned slowly through the day, and then was 
kindled up anew when the sun went down, and 
w^as continually replenished through the night 
with fresh supplies of fuel. In modern times, 
a much more convenient and economical mode 
is adopted to produce the requisite illumina- 
tion. A great blazing lamp burns brilliantly 
in the center of the lantern of the tower, and 
all that part of the radiation from the flame 
w^hich would naturally have beamed upward, 
or downward, or laterally, or back toward the 
land, is so turned by a curious system of re- 
flectors and polyzonal lenses, most ingeniously 
contrived and very exactly adjusted, as to be 
thrown forward in one broad and thin, but brill- 
iant sheet of light, which shoots out where its 
radiance is needed, over the surface of the sea. 
Before these inventions were perfected, far the 
largest portion of the light emitted by the illu- 
mination of light-house towers streamed away 
wastefully in landward directions, or was lost 
among the stars. 

Of course, the glory of erecting such an edi- 
fice as the Pharos of Alexandria, and of main- 

B.C. 283.] Alexandria. 71 

The architect of the Pharos. His ingenious stratagem 

taining it in the performance of its functions, 
was very great ; the question might, however, 
very naturally arise whether this glory was 
justly due to the architect through whose scien- 
tific skill the work was actually accomplished, 
or to the monarch by whose power and resour- 
ces the architect was sustained. The name of 
the architect was Sostratus. He was a Greek. 
The monarch was, as has already been stated, 
the second Ptolemy, called commonly Ptolemy 
Philadelphus. Ptolemy ordered that, in com- 
pleting the tower, a marble tablet should be 
built into the wall, at a suitable place near the 
summit, and that a proper inscription should 
be carved upon it, v/ith his name as the builder 
of the edifice conspicuous thereon. Sostratus 
preferred inserting his own name. He accord- 
ingly made the tablet and set it in its place. 
He cut the inscription upon the face of it, in 
Greek characters, with his own name as the 
author of the work. He did this secretly, and 
then covered the face of the tablet with an ar- 
tificial composition, made with lime, to imitate 
the natural surface of the stone. On this outer 
surface he cut a new inscription, in which he 
inserted the name of the king. In process of 
time the hme moldered away, the king's in- 

72 Cleopatra. [B.C. 283. 

Ruins of the Pharos. The Alexandrian library. 

.scription disappeared, and his own, which thence- 
forward continued as long as the building en- 
dured, came out to view. 

The Pharos was said to have been four hund- 
red feet high. It was famed throughout the 
world for many centuries; nothing, however, 
remains of it now but a heap of useless and 
unmeaning ruins. 

Besides the light that beamed from the sum- 
mit of this lofty tower, there was another cen- 
ter of radiance and illumination in ancient Al- 
exandria, which was in some respects still more 
conspicuous and renowned, namely, an im- 
mense library and museum established and 
maintained by the Ptolemies. The Museum, 
which was first established, was not, as its name 
might now imply, a collection of curiosities, but 
an institution of learning, consisting of a body 
of learned men, who devoted their time to phil- 
osophical and scientific pursuits. The institu- 
tion was richly endowed, and magnificent build- 
ings were erected for its use. The king who 
established it began immediately to make a col- 
lection of books for the use of the members of 
the institution. This was attended with great 
expense, as every book that was added to the 
collection required to be transcribed with a pen 

Alexandria. 73 

Immense magnitude of the library. The Serapion. 

on parchment or papyrus, with infinite labor and 
care. Great numbers of scribes were constant- 
ly employed upon this work at the Museum. 
The kings who were most interested in forming 
this library would seize the books that were pos- 
sessed by individual scholars, or that were de- 
posited in the various cities of their dominions, 
and then, causing beautiful copies of them to be 
made by the scribes of the Museum, they would 
retain the originals for the great Alexandrian 
Library, and give the copies to the men or the 
cities that had been thus despoiled. In the 
same manner they would borrow, as they called 
it, from all travelers who visited Egypt, any 
valuable books which they might have in their 
possession, and, retaining the originals, give 
them back copies instead. 

In process of time the library increased to 
four hundred thousand volumes. There was 
then no longer any room in the buildings of the 
Museum for further additions. There was, 
however, in another part of the city, a great 
temple called the Serapion. This temple was 
a very magnificent edifice, or, rather, group of 
edifices, dedicated to the god Serapis. The or- 
igin and history of this temple were very re- 
markable. The legend was this : 

74 Cleopatra. 

The Serapis of Egypt. The Serapis of Greece. 

It seems that one of the ancient and long- 
venerated gods of the Egyptians was a deity- 
named Serapis. He had been, among other di- 
vinities, the object of Egyptian adoration ages 
before Alexandria was built or the Ptolemies 
reigned. There was also, by a curious coinci- 
dence, a statue of the same name at a great 
commercial town named Sinope, which was 
built upon the extremity of a promontory which 
projected from Asia Minor into the Euxine 
Sea.* Sinope was, in some sense,, the Alexan- 
dria of the north, being the center and seat of a 
great portion of the commerce of that quarter 
of the world. 

The Serapis of Sinope was considered as the 
protecting deity of seamen, and the navigators 
who came and went to and from the city made 
sacrifices to him, and offered him oblations and 
prayers, believing that they were, in a great 
measure, dependent upon some mysterious and 
inscrutable power which he exercised for their 
safety in storms. They carried the knowledge 
of his name, and tales of his imaginary inter- 
positions, to all the places that they visited ; 
and thus the fame of the god became extended, 
first, to all the coasts of the Euxine Sea, and 

** See map ; frontispiece. 

Alexandria. 75 

Ptolemy's dream. Importance of the statue. 

subsequently to distant provinces and kingdoms. 
The Serapis of Sinope began to be considered 
every v^^here as the tutelar god of seamen. 

Accordingly, when the first of the Ptolemies 
was forming his various plans for adorning and 
aggrandizing Alexandria, he received, he said, 
one night, a divine intimation in a dream that 
he was to obtain the statue of Serapis from Si- 
nope, and set it up in Alexandria, in a suitable 
temple which, he was in the mean time to erect 
in honor of the god. It is obvious that very 
great advantages to the city would result from 
the accomplishment of this design. In the first 
place, a temple to the god Serapis would be a 
new distinction for it in the minds of the rural 
population, who would undoubtedly suppose that 
the deity honored by it was their own ancient 
god. Then the whole maritime and nautical 
interest of the world, which had been accustom- 
ed to adore the god of Sinope, would turn to Al- 
exandria as the great center of religious attrac- 
tion, if their venerated idol could be carried and 
placed in a new and magnificent temple built 
expressly for him there. Alexandria could nev- 
er be the chief naval port and station of the 
world, unless it contained the sanctuary and 
shrine of the god of seamen. 

76 . Cleopatra. 

Ptolemy's proposal to the King of Sinope. His ultimate success. 

Ptolemy sent accordingly to the King of Si- 
nope and proposed to purchase the idol. The 
embassage was, however, unsuccessful. The 
king refused to give up the god. The negotia- 
tions were continued for two years, but all in 
vain. At length, on account of some failure in 
the regular course of the seasons on that coast, 
there was a famine there, which became finally 
so severe that the people of the city were induc- 
ed to consent to give up their deity to the Egyp- 
tians in exchange for a supply of corn. Ptole- 
my sent the corn and received the idol. He 
then built the temple, which, when finished, 
surpassed in grandeur and magnificence almost 
every sacred structure in the world. 

It was in this temple that the successive ad- 
ditions to the Alexandrian library were depos- 
ited, when the apartments at the Museum be- 
came full. In the end there were four hundred 
thousand rolls or volumes in the Museum, and 
three hundred thousand in the Serapion. The 
former was called the parent library, and the 
latter, being, as it were, the offspring of the first, 
was called the daughter. 

Ptolemy Philadelphus, who interested him- 
self very greatly in collecting this library, wished 
to make it a complete collection of all the books 

Alexandria. 77 

Mode j)f obtaining books. The Jewish Scriptures. 

in the world. He employed scholars to read 
and study, and travelers to make extensive 
tours, for the purpose of learning what books 
existed among all the surrounding nations ; and, 
when he learned of their existence, he spared 
no pains or expense in attempting to procure 
either the originals themselves, or the most per- 
fect and authentic copies of them. He sent to 
Athens and obtained the works of the most cel- 
ebrated Greek historians, and then causing, as 
in other cases, most beautiful transcripts to be 
made, he sent the transcripts back to Athens, 
and a very large sum of money with them as 
an equivalent for the difference of value between 
originals and copies in such an exchange. 

In the course of the inquiries which Ptolemy 
made into the literature of the surrounding na- 
tions, in his search for accessions to his library, 
he heard that the Jews had certain sacred writ- 
ings in their temple at Jerusalem, comprising 
a minute and extremely interesting history of 
their nation from the earliest periods, and also 
many other books of sacred prophecy and poe- 
try. These books, which were, in fact, the He- 
brew Scriptures of the Old Testament, were 
then wholly unknown to all nations except the 
Jews, and among the Jews were known only 

7S Cleopatra. 

Seclusion of the Jews. Interest felt in their Scriptures. 

to priests and scholars. They were kept sacred 
at Jerusalem. The Jews would have consid- 
ered them as profaned in being exhibited to the 
view of pagan nations. In fact, the learned 
men of other countries would not have been 
able to read them ; for the Jews secluded them- 
selves so closely from the rest of mankind, that 
their language was, in that age, scarcely ever 
heard beyond the confines of Judea and Galilee. 
Ptolemy very naturally thought that a copy 
of these sacred books would be a great acquisi- 
tion to his library. They constituted, in fact, 
the whole literature of a nation which was, in 
some respects, the most extraordinary that ever 
existed on the globe. Ptolemy conceived the 
idea, also, of not only adding to his library a 
copy of these writings in the original Hebrew, 
but of causing a translation of them to be made 
into Greek, so that they might easily be read 
by the Greek and Roman scholars who were 
drawn in great numbers to his capital by the 
libraries and the learned institutions which he 
had established there. The first thing to be ef- 
fected, however, in accomplishing either of these 
plans, was to obtain the consent of the Jewish 
authorities. They would probably object to giv- 
ing up any copy of their sacred writings at all. 

Alexandria. 79 

Jewish slaves in Egypt. Ptolemy's designs. 

There was one circumstance which led Ptol- 
emy to imagine that the Jews would, at that 
time particularly, be averse to granting any re- 
quest of such a nature coming from an Egyp- 
tian king, and that was, that during certain 
wars which had taken place in previous reigns, 
a considerable number of prisoners had been ta- 
ken by the Egyptians, and had been brought to 
Egypt as captives, where they had been sold to 
the inhabitants, and were now scattered over 
the land as slaves. They were employed as 
servile laborers in tilling the fields, or in turn- 
ing enormous wheels to pump up water from 
the Nile. The masters of these hapless bond- 
men conceived, like other slave-holders, that they 
had a right of property in their slaves. This 
was in some respects true, since they had bought 
them of the government at the close of the war 
for a consideration ; and though they obviously 
derived from this circumstance no valid propri- 
etary right or claim as against the men person- 
ally, it certainly would seem that it gave them 
a just claim against the government of whom 
they bought, in case of subsequent manumis- 

Ptolemy or his minister, for it can not now 
be known who was the real actor in these trang- 

80 Cleopatra. 

Ptolemy libei-ates the slaves. Their ransom paid. 

actions, determined on liberating these slaves 
and sending them back to their native land, as 
a means of propitiating the Jews and inclining 
them to listen favorably to the request which 
he was about to prefer for a copy of their sacred 
writings. He, however, paid to those who held 
the captives a very liberal sum for ransom. The 
ancient historians, who never allow the interest 
of their narratives to suffer for want of a proper 
amplification on their part of the scale on which 
the deeds which they record were performed, 
say that the number of slaves liberated on this 
occasion was a hundred and twenty thousand, 
and the sum paid for them, as compensation to 
the owners, was six hundred talents, equal to 
six hundred thousand dollars.* And yet this 
was only a preliminary expense to pave the 
way for the acquisition of a single series of 
books, to add to the variety of the immense 

After the liberation and return of the cap- 

* It will be sufficiently accurate for the general reader of 
history to consider the Greek talent, referred to in such trans- 
actions as these, as equal in English money to two hundred 
and fifty pounds, in American to a thousand dollars. It is 
curious to observe that, large as the total was that was paid 
for the liberation of these slaves, the amount paid for each in- 
dividual was, after all, only a sum equal to about five dollars. 

B.C. 298-285.] Alexandria. 81 

Ptolemy's success. The Septuagint. 

tives, Ptolemy sent a splendid embassage to 
Jerusalem, with very respectful letters to the 
high priest, and with very magnificent pres- 
ents. The embassadors were received with the 
highest honors. The request of Ptolemy that 
he should be allowed to take a copy of the sa- 
cred books for his library was very readily 

The priests caused copies to be made of all 
the sacred writings. These copies were executed 
in the most magnificent style, and were splen- 
didly illuminated with letters of gold. The 
Jewish government also, at Ptolemy's request, 
designated a company of Hebrew scholars, six 
from each tribe — men learned in both the Greek 
and Hebrew languages — to proceed to Alexan- 
dria, and there, at the Museum, to make a care- 
ful translation of the Hebrew books into Greek. 
As there were twelve tribes, and six translators 
chosen from each, there were seventy-two trans- 
lators in all. They made their translation, and 
it was called the Septuagint^ from the Latin 
septuaginta duo, which means seventy-two. 

Although out of Judea there was no feeling of 
reverence for these Hebrew Scriptures as books 
of divine authority, there was still a strong in- 
terest felt in them as very entertaining and cu- 

82 Cleopatra. [B.C. 298-285. 

Early copies of the Septuagint. Present copies. 

rious works of history, by all the Greek and 
Roman scholars who frequented Alexandria to 
study at the Museum. Copies were accord- 
ingly made of the Septuagint translation, and 
were taken to other countries ; and there, in 
process of time, copies of the copies were made, 
until, at length the work became extensively 
circulated throughout the whole learned world. 
When, finally, Christianity became extended 
over the Roman empire, the priests and monks 
looked with even a stronger interest than the 
ancient scholars had felt upon this early trans- 
lation of so important a portion of the sacred 
Scriptures. They made new copies for abbeys, 
monasteries, and colleges ; and when, at length, 
the art of printing was discovered, this work 
was one of the first on which the magic powei 
of typography was tried. The original manu- 
script made by the scribes of the seventy-two, 
and all the early transcripts which were madf 
from it, have long since been lost or destroyed ; 
but, instead of them, we have now hundreds of 
thousands of copies in compact printed, volumes, 
scattered among the public and private libraries 
of Christendom. In fact, now, after the lapse 
of two thousand years, a copy of Ptolemy's Sep- 
tuagint may be obtained of any considerable 

B.C. 298-285.] Alexandria. 83 

Various other plans of the Ptolemies. Means of raising money. 

bookseller in any country of the civilized world ; 
and though it required a national embassage, 
and an expenditure, if the accounts are true, 
of more than a million of dollars, originally to 
obtain it, it may be procured without difficulty 
now by two days' wages of an ordinary laborer. 

Besides the building of the Pharos, the Mu- 
seum, and the Temple of Serapis, the early 
Ptolemies formed and executed a great many 
other plans tending to the same ends which the 
erection of these splendid edifices was designed 
to secure, namely, to concentrate in Alexan- 
dria all possible means of attraction, commer- 
cial, literary, and religious, so as to make the 
city the great center of interest, and the com- 
mon resort for all mankind. They raised im- 
mense revenues for these and other purposes by 
taxing heavily the whole agricultural produce 
of the valley of the Nile. The inundations, by 
the boundless fertility which they annually pro- 
duced, supplied the royal treasuries. Thus the 
Abyssinian rains at the sources of the Nile built 
the Pharos at its mouth, and endowed the Al- 
exandrian library. 

The taxes laid upon the people of Egypt to 
supply the Ptolemies with funds were, in fact, 
so heavy, that only the bare means of subsist- 

84 Cleopatra. 

Heavy taxes. Poverty of the people. 

ence were left to the mass of the agricultural 
population. In admiring the greatness and glo- 
ry of the city, therefore, we must remember 
that there was a gloomy counterpart to its 
splendor in the very extended destitution and 
poverty to which the mass of the people were 
every where doomed. They lived in hamlets 
of wretched huts along the banks of the river, 
in order that the capital might be splendidly 
adorned with temples and palaces. They pass- 
ed their lives in darkness and ignorance, that 
seven hundred thousand volumes of expensive 
manuscripts might be enrolled at the Museum 
for the use of foreign philosophers and scholars. 
The policy of the Ptolemies was, perhaps, on 
the whole, the best, for the general advance- 
ment and ultimate welfare of mankind, which 
could have been pursued in the age in which 
they lived and acted ; but, in applauding the re- 
sults which they attained, we must not wholly 
forget the cost which they incurred in attaining 
them. At the same cost, we could, at the pres- 
ent day, far surpass them. If the people of the 
United States will surrender the comforts and 
conveniences which they individually enjoy — if 
the farmers scattered in their comfortable homes 
on the hill-sides and plains throughout the land 

Alexandria. 85 

Ancient and modern capitals. Liberality of the Ptolemies. 

will give up their houses, their furniture, their 
carpets, their books, and the privileges of their 
children, and then — withholding from the pro- 
duce of their annual toil only a sufficient reser- 
vation to sustain them and their families through 
the year, in a life like that of a beast of burden, 
spent in some miserable and naked hovel — send 
the rest to some hereditary sovereign residing 
upon the Atlantic sea-board, that he may build 
with the proceeds a splendid capital, they may 
have an Alexandria now that will infinitely ex- 
ceed the ancient city of the Ptolemies in splen- 
dor and renown. The nation, too, would, in 
such a case, pay for its metropolis the same 
price, precisely, that the ancient Egyptians paid 
for theirs. 

The Ptolemies expended the reveniies which 
they raised by this taxation mainly in a very 
liberal and enlightened manner, for the accom- 
plishment of the purposes w^hich they had in 
view. The building of the Pharos, the removal 
of the statue of Serapis, and the endowment of 
the Museum and the library were great concep- 
tions, and they were carried i^nto effect in the 
most complete and perfect manner. All the 
other operations which they devised and exe- 
cuted for the extension and aggrandizement of 

86 Cleopatra. 

Splendor and renown of Alexandria. Her great rival. 

the city were conceived and executed in the 
same spirit of scientific and enlightened hberal- 
ity. Streets were opened ; the most splendid 
palaces were built ; docks, piers, and breakw^a- 
ters were constructed, and fortresses and towers 
were armed and garrisoned. Then every means 
was employed to attract to the city a great con- 
course from all the most highly-civilized nations 
then existing. The highest inducements were 
offered to merchants, mechanics, and artisans 
to make the city their abode. Poets, painters, 
sculptors, and scholars of every nation and de- 
gree were made welcome, and every facility 
was afforded them for the prosecution of their 
various pursuits. These plans were all emi- 
nently successful. Alexandria rose rapidly to 
the highest consideration and importance ; and, 
at the time when Cleopatra^ — born to preside 
over this scene of magnificence and splendor — 
came upon the stage, the city had but one rival 
in the world. That rival was Rome. 

B.C. 80.] Cleopatra's Father. 87 

Rome the rival of Alexandria. Extent of their rule. 

Chapter IV. 

Cleopatra's Father. 

S^T'H^N "the time was approaching in which 
Cleopatra appeared upon the stage, Rome 
was perhaps the only city that could be consid- 
ered as the rival of Alexandria, in the estima- 
tion of mankind, in respect to interest and at- 
tractiveness as a capital. In one respect, Rome 
was vastly superior to the Egyptian metropolis, 
and that was in the magnitude and extent of 
the military power which it wielded among the 
nations of the earth. Alexandria ruled over 
Egypt, and over a few of the neighboring coasts 
and islands ; but in the course of the three cen- 
turies during which she had been acquiring her 
greatness and fame, the Roman empire had ex- 
tended itself over almost the whole civilized 
world. Egypt had been, thus far, too remote 
to be directly reached ; but the affairs of Egypt 
itself became involved at length with the opera- 
tions of the Korcan power, about the time of 
Cleopatra's biitb, m a very striking and pecu- 
liar manner ; anvA as the consequences of the 

88 Cleopatra. [B.C. 80. 

Extension of the Roman empire. Cleopatra's father. 

transaction were the means of turning the whole 
course of the queen's subsequent history, a nar- 
ration of it is necessary to a proper understand- 
ing of the circumstances under which she com- 
menced her career. In fact, it was the exten- 
sion of the Roman empire to the limits of 
Egypt, and the connections which thence arose 
between the leading Roman generals and the 
Egyptian sovereign, which have made the story 
of this particular queen so much more conspic- 
uous, as an object of interest and attention to 
mankind, than that of any other one of the ten 
Cleopatras who rose successively in the same 
royal line. 

Ptolemy Auletes, Cleopatra's father, was per- 
haps, in personal character, the most dissipated, 
degraded, and corrupt of all the sovereigns in 
the dynasty. He spent his whole time in vice 
and debauchery. The only honest accomplish- 
ment that he seemed to possess was his skill in 
playing upon the flute ; of this he was very vain. 
He instituted musical contests, in which the 
musical performers of Alexandria played for 
prizes and crowns ; and he himself was accus- 
tomed to enter the lists with the rest as a com- 
petitor. The people of Alexandria, and the 
world in general, considered such pursuits as 

B.C. 58.] Cleopatra's Father. 89 

Ptolemy's ignoble birth. Cgesar and Pompey. 

these wholly unworthy the attention of the rep- 
resentative of so illustrious a line of sovereigns ; 
and the abhorrence which they felt for the mon- 
arch's vices and crimes was mingled with a feel- 
ing of contempt for the meanness of his ambi- 

There was a doubt in respect to his title to 
the crown, for his birth, on the mother's side, 
was irregular and ignoble. Instead, however, 
of attempting to confirm and secure his posses- 
sion of power by a vigorous and prosperous ad- 
ministration of the government, he wholly aban- 
doned all concern in respect to the course of 
public affairs ; and then, to guard against the 
danger of being deposed, he conceived the plan 
of getting himself recognized at Rome as one 
of the allies of the Roman people. If this were 
once done, he supposed that the Roman govern- 
ment would feel under an obligation to sustain 
him on his throne in the event of any threat- 
ened danger. 

The Roman government was a sort of repub- 
lic, and the two most powerful men in the state 
at this time were Pompey and Caesar. Caesar 
was in the ascendency at Rome at the time 
that Ptolemy made his application for an alli- 
ance. Pompey was absent in x4.sia Minor, be- 

90 Cleopatra. [B.C. 58. 

Ptolemy purchases the alliance of Rome. Taxes to raise the money. 

ing engaged in prosecuting a war with Mith- 
radates, a very powerfal monarch, who was at 
that time resisting the Roman power. Csesar 
was very deeply involved in debt, and was, more- 
over, very much in need of money, not only for 
relief from existing embarrassments, but as a 
means of subsequent expenditure, to enable him 
to accomplish certain great political schemes 
which he was entertaining. After many nego- 
tiations and delays, it was agreed that Caesar 
would exert his influence to secure an alliance 
between the Roman people and Ptolemy, on con- 
dition that Ptolemy paid him the sum of six 
thousand talents, equal to about six millions of 
dollars. A part of the money, Csesar said, was 
for Pompey. 

The title of ally was conferred, and Ptolemy 
undertook to raise the money which he had 
promised by increasing the taxes of his kingdom. 
The measures, however, which he thus adopt- 
ed for the purpose of making himself the more 
secure in his possession of the throne, proved 
to be the means of overthrowing him. The dis- 
content and disaffection of his people, which had 
been strong and universal before, though sup- 
pressed and concealed, broke out now into open 
violence. That there should be laid upon them, 

B.C. 58.] Cleopatra's Father. 91 

Revolt at Alexandria. Ptolemy's flight 

in addition to all their other burdens, these new 
oppressions, heavier than those which they had 
endured before, and exacted for such a purpose 
too, was not to be endured. To be compelled 
to see their country sold on any terms to the 
Roman people was sufficiently hard to bear ; but 
to be forced to raise, themselves, and pay the 
price of the transfer, was absolutely intolerable. 
Alexandria commenced a revolt. Ptolemy was 
not a man to act decidedly against such a dem- 
onstration, or, in fact, to evince either calmness 
or courage in any emergency whatever. His 
first thought was to escape from Alexandria to 
save his life. His second, to make the best of 
his way to Kome, to call upon the Roman peo- 
ple to come to the succor of their ally ! 

Ptolemy left five children behind him in his 
flight. The eldest was the Princess Berenice, 
who had already reached maturity. The sec- 
ond was the great Cleopatra, the subject of this 
history. Cleopatra was, at this time, about 
eleven years old. There were also two sons, 
but they were very young. One of them was 
named Ptolemy. 

The Alexandrians determined on raising Ber- 
enice to the throne in her father's place, as soon 
as his flight was known. They thought that 

92 Cleopatra. [B.C. 58. 

Berenice. Her marriag'. with Seleucus 

the sons were too young to attempt to reign in 
such an emergency, as it was very probable 
that Auletes, the father, would attempt to re- 
cover his kingdom. Berenice very readily ac- 
cepted the honor and power which were offered 
to her. She established herself in her father's 
palace, and began her reign in great magnifi- 
cence and splendor. In process of time she 
thought that her position would be strengthened 
by a marriage with a royal prince from some 
neighboring realm. She first sent embassadors 
to make proposals to a prince of Syria named 
Antiochus. The embassadors came back, bring- 
ing word that Antiochus was dead, but that he 
had a brother named Seleucus, upon whom the 
succession fell. Berenice then sent them back 
to make the same offers to him. He accepted 
the proposals, came to Egypt, and he and Ber- 
enice were married. After trying him for a 
while, Berenice found that, for some reason or 
other, she did not like him as a husband, and, 
accordingly, she caused him to be strangled. 

At length, after various other intrigues and 
much secret management, Berenice succeeded 
in a second negotiation, and married a prince, 
or a pretended prince, from some country of 
Asia Minor, whose name was Archelaus. She 

B.C. 58.] Cleopatra's Father. 93 

Cleopatra's early life. Ptolemy an object of contempt. 

was better pleased with this second husband 
than she had been with the first, and she began, 
at last, to feel somewhat settled and establish- 
ed on her throne, and to be prepared, as she 
thought, to offer effectual resistance to her fa- 
ther in case he should ever attempt to re- 

It was in the midst of the scenes, and sur- 
rounded by the influences which might be ex- 
pected to prevail in the families of such a father 
and such a sister, that Cleopatra spent those 
years of life in which the character is formed. 
During all these revolutions, and exposed to all 
these exhibitions of licentious wickedness, and 
of unnatural cruelty and crime, she was grow- 
ing up in the royal palaces a spirited and beau- 
tiful, but indulged and neglected child. 

In the mean time, Auletes, the father, went 
on toward Rome. So far as his character and 
his story were known among the surrounding 
nations, he was the object of universal obloquy, 
both on account of his previous career of de- 
grading vice, and now, still more, for this igno- 
ble flight from the difficulties in which his vices 
and crimes had involved him. 

He stopped, on the way, at the island of 
Rhodes. It happened that Cato, the great Ro- 

94 Cleopatra. [B.C. 58 

Ptolemy's interview with Cato. Character of Cato 

man philosopher and general, was at Rhodes a1 
this time. Cato was a man of stern, unbend- 
ing virtue, and of great influence at that period 
in public affairs. Ptolemy sent a messenger to 
inform Cato of his arrival, supposing, of course, 
that the Eoman general would hasten, on hear- 
ing of the fact, to pay his respects to so great a 
personage as he, a king of Egypt — a Ptolemy 
— though suffering under a temporary reverse 
of fortune. Cato directed the messenger to re- 
ply that, so far as he was aware, he had no par- 
ticular business with Ptolemy. " Say, how- 
ever, to the king," he added, '• that, if he has 
any business with me, he may call and see me, 
if he pleases." 

Ptolemy was obliged to suppress his resent- 
ment and submit. Pie thought it very essen- 
tial to the success of his plans that he should 
see Cato, and secure, if possible, his interest and 
co-operation ; and he consequently made prepa- 
rations for paying, instead of receiving, the vis- 
it, intending to go in the greatest royal state 
that he could command. He accordingly ap- 
peared at Cato's lodgings on the following day, 
magnificently dressed, and accompanied by 
many attendants. Cato, who was dressed in 
the plainest and most simple manner, and whose 

B.C.58.] Cleopatra's Father. 95 

Ptolemy's reception. Cato's advice to him. 

apartment was furnished in a style correspond- 
ing with the severity of his character, did not 
even rise when the king entered the room. He 
simply pointed with his hand, and bade the vis- 
itor take a seat. 

Ptolemy began to make a statement of his 
case, with a view to obtaining Cato's influence 
with the Roman people to induce them to in- 
terpose in his behalf. Cato, however, far from 
evincing any disposition to espouse his visitor's 
cause, censured him, in the plainest terms, for 
having abandoned his proper position in his own 
kingdom, to go and make himself a victim and 
a prey for the insatiable avarice of the Roman 
leaders. " You can do nothing at Rome," he 
said, '' but by the influence of bribes ; and all 
the resources of Egypt will not be enough to 
satisfy the Roman greediness for money." He 
concluded by recommending him to go back to 
Alexandria, and rely for his hopes of extrication 
from the difficulties which surrounded him on 
the exercise of his own energy and resolution 

t^tolemy was greatly abashed at this rebuff", 
but, on consultation with his attendants and 
followers, it was decided to be too late now to 
return. The whole party accordingly re-em- 

96 Cleopatra. [B.C. 58. 

Ptolemy arrives at Rome, His application to Pompey. 

barked on board their galleys, and pursued their 
way to Rome. 

Ptolemy found, on his arrival at the city, that 
Caesar was absent in Gaul, while Pompey, on 
the other hand, who had returned victorious 
from his campaigns against Mithradates, was 
now the great leader of influence and power at 
the Capitol. This change of circumstances was 
not, however, particularly unfavorable ; for Ptol- 
emy was on friendly terms with Pompey, as he 
had been with Caesar. He had assisted him in 
his wars with Mithradates by sending him a 
squadron of horse, in pursuance of his policy of 
cultivating friendly relations with the Roman 
people by every means in his power. Besides, 
Pompey had received a part of the money which 
Ptolemy had paid to Caesar as the price of the 
Roman alliance, and was to receive his share 
of the rest in case Ptolemy should ever be re- 
stored. Pompey was accordingly interested in 
favoring the royal fugitive's cause. He re- 
ceived him in his palace, entertained him in 
magnificent style, and took immediate meas- 
ures for bringing his cause before the Roman 
senate, urging upon that body the adoption of 
immediate and vigorous measures for effecting 
his restoration, as an ally whom they were 

B.C. 58.] Cleopatra's Father. 97 

Action of the Roman senate. Plans for restoring Ptolemy. 

bound to protect against his rebellious sub- 

There was at first some opposition in the 
Roman senate against espousing the cause of 
such a man, but it was soon put down, being 
overpowered in part by Pompey's authority, 
and in part silenced by Ptolemy's promises and 
bribes. The senate determined to restore the 
king to his throne, and began to make arrange- 
ments for carrying the measure into effect. 

The Roman provinces nearest to Egypt were 
Cilicia and Syria, countries situated on the east- 
ern and northeastern coast of the Mediterranean 
Sea, north of Judea. The forces stationed in 
these provinces would be, of course, the most 
convenient for furnishing the necessary troops 
for the expedition. The province of Cilicia was 
under the command of the consul Lentulus. 
Lentulus was at this time at Rome ; he had 
repaired to the capital for some temporary pur- 
pose, leaving his province and the troops sta- 
tioned there under the command, for the time, 
of a sort of lieutenant general named Gabinius. 
It was concluded that this Lentulus, with his 
Syrian forces, should undertake the task of re- 
instating Ptolemy on his throne. 

While these plans and arrangements were 

98 Cleopatra. [B.C. 57. 

Measures of Berenice. Her embassage to Rome. 

yet immature, a circumstance occurred which 
threatened, for a time, wholly to defeat them. 
It seems that when Cleopatra's father first left 
Egypt, he had caused a report to be circulated 
there that he had been killed in the revolt. 
The object of this stratagem was to cover and 
conceal his flight. The government of Berenice 
soon discovered the truth, and learned that the 
fugitive had gone in the direction of Rome. 
They immediately inferred that he was going 
to appeal to the Roman people for aid, and they 
determined that, if that were the case, the Ro- 
man people, before deciding in his favor, should 
have the opportunity to hear their side of the 
story as well as his. They accordingly made 
preparations at once for sending a very impos- 
ing embassage to Rome. The deputation con- 
sisted of more than a hundred persons. The 
object of Berenice's government in sending so 
large a number was not only to evince their 
respect for the Roman people, and their sense 
cf the magnitude of the question at issue, but 
also to guard against any efforts that Ptolemy 
might make to intercept the embassage on the 
way, or to buy off the members of it by bribes. 
The number, however, large as it was, proved 
insufficient to accomplish this purpose. The 

B.C. 57.] Cleopatra's Father. 99 

Ptolemy's treachery. Its consequences. 

whole Roman world was at this time in such a 
condition of disorder and violence, in the hands 
of the desperate and reckless military leaders 
who then bore sway, that there were every where 
abundant facilities for the commission of any 
conceivable crime. Ptolemy contrived, with the 
assistance of the fierce partisans who had es- 
poused his cause, and who were deeply interest- 
ed in his success on account of the rewards 
which were promised them, to waylay and de- 
stroy a large proportion of this company before 
they reached Rome. Some were assassinated ; 
some were poisoned ; some were tampered with 
and bought off by bribes. A small remnant 
reached Rome; but they were so intimidated 
by the dangers which surrounded them, that 
they did not dare to take any public action in 
respect to the business which had been com- 
mitted to their charge. Ptolemy began to con- 
gratulate himself on having completely circum- 
vented his daughter in her efforts to protect 
herself against his designs. 

Instead of that, however, it soon proved that 
the effect of this atrocious treachery was exact- 
ly the contrary of what its perpetrators had ex- 
pected. The knowledge of the facts became 
gradually extended among the people of Rome, 

100 Cleopatra. [B.C. 57. 

Opposition to Ptolemy. The prophecy 

and it awakened a universal indignation. The 
party who had been originally opposed to Ptol- 
emy's cause seized the opportunity to renew 
their opposition ; and they gained so much 
strength from the general odium which Ptol- 
emy's crimes had awakened, that Pompey found 
it almost impossible to sustain his cause. 

At length the party opposed to Ptolemy 
found, or pretended to find, in certain sacred 
books, called the Sibylline Oracles, which were 
kept in the custody of the priests, and were sup- 
posed to contain prophetic intimations of the 
will of Heaven in respect to the conduct of pub- 
lic affairs, the following passage : 

^^ If a king of Egypt should apply to you 
for aid, treat him in a friendly manner, but do 
not furnish him with troops ; for if you do, you 
will incur great danger^ 

This made new difficulty for Ptolemy's 
friends. They attempted, at first, to evade this 
inspired injunction by denying the reality of it. 
There was no such passage to be found, they 
said. It was all an invention of their enemies. 
This point seems to have been overruled, and 
then they attempted to give the passage some 
other than the obvious interpretation. Finally, 
they maintained that, although it prohibited 

B.C. 55.] Cleopatra's Father. 101 

Attempts to evade the oracle. Gabinius undertakes the cause. 

their furnishing Ptolemy himself with troops, it 
did not forbid their sending an armed force into 
Egypt under leaders of their own. That they 
couid certainly do ; and then, when the rebell- 
ion was suppressed, and Berenice's government 
overthrown, they could invite Ptolemy to return 
to his kingdom and resume his crown in a 
peaceful manner. This, they alleged, would not 
be "furnishing him with troops," and, of course, 
would not be disobeying the oracle. 

These attempts to evade the direction of the 
oracle on the part of Ptolemy's friends, only 
made the debates and dissensions between them 
and his enemies more violent than ever. Pom- 
pey made every effort in his power to aid Ptol- 
emy's cause ; but Lentulus, after long hesita- 
tion and delay, decided that it would not be safe 
for him to embark in it. At length, however, 
Gabinius, the lieutenant who commanded in 
Syria, was induced to undertake the enterprise. 
On certain promises which he received from 
Ptolemy, to be performed in case he succeeded, 
and with a certain encouragement, not very le- 
gal or regular, which Pompey gave him, in re- 
spect to the employment of the Roman troops 
unde: his command, he resolved to march to 
Egyjit. His route, of course, would lay along 

102 Cleopatra. [B.C. 55 

Mark Antony. His history and character 

the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and 
through the desert, to Pelusiurn, which has al- 
ready been mentioned as the frontier town, on 
this side of Egypt. From Pelusium he was to 
march through the heart of the Delta to Alex- 
andria, and, if successful in his invasion, over- 
throw the government of Berenice and Arche- 
laus, and then, inviting Ptolemy to return, re- 
instate him on the throne. 

In the prosecution of this dangerous enter- 
prise, Gabinius relied strongly on the assist- 
ance of a very remarkable man, then his second 
in command, who afterward acted a very im- 
portant part in the subsequent history of Cleo- 
patra. His name was Mark Antony. Antony 
was born in Rome, of a very distinguished fam- 
ily, but his father died when he was very young, 
and being left subsequently much to himself, he 
oecame a very wild and dissolute young man. 
He wasted the property which Ms father had 
left him in folly and vice ; and then going on 
desperately in the same career, he soon incurred 
enormous debts, and involved himself, in conse- 
quence, in inextricable difficulties. Plis cred- 
itors continually harassed him with importuni- 
ties for money, and with suits at law to compel 
payments which he had no means of making. 

B.C. 55.] Cleopatra's Father. 103 

Antony in Greece. He joins Gabinius. 

He was likewise incessantly pursued by the 
hostility of the many enemies that he had made 
in the city by his violence and his crimes. At 
length he absconded, and went to Greece. 

Here Gabinius, when on his way to Syria, 
met hira, and invited him to join his army 
rather than to remain where he was in idleness 
and destitution. Antony, who was as proud 
and lofty in spirit as he was degraded in mor- 
als and condition, refused to do this unless Ga- 
binius would give him a command. Gabinius 
saw in the daring and reckless energy which 
Antony manifested the indications of the class 
of qualities which in those days made a suc- 
cessful soldier, and acceded to his terms. He 
gave him the command of his cavalry. Antony 
distinguished himself in the Syrian campaigns 
that followed, and was now full of eagerness to 
engage in this Egyptian enterprise. In fact, it 
was mainly his zeal and enthusiasm to embark 
in the undertaking which was the means of de- 
ciding Gabinius to consent to Ptolemy's pro- 

The danger and difficulty which they con- 
sidered as most to be apprehended in the whole 
expedition was the getting across the desert to 
Pelusium. In fact, the great protection of 

104 Cleopatra. [B.C. 55. 

Danger of crossing the deserts. Armies destroyed. 

Egypt had always been her isolation. The 
trackless and desolate sands, being wholly des- 
titute of water, and utterly void, could be trav- 
ersed, even by a caravan of peaceful travelers, 
only with great difficulty and danger. For an 
army to attempt to cross them, exposed, as the 
troops would necessarily be, to the assaults of 
enemies who might advance to meet them on 
the way, and sure of encountering a terrible 
opposition from fresh and vigorous bands when 
they should arrive — wayworn and exhausted by 
the physical hardships of the way — at the bor- 
ders of the inhabited country, was a desperate 
undertaking. Many instances occurred in an- 
cient times in which vast bodies of troops, in 
attempting marches over the deserts by which 
Egypt was surrounded, were wholly destroyed 
by famine or thirst, or overwhelmed by storms 
of sand.* 

These difficulties and dangers, however, did 
not at all intimidate Mark Antony. The an- 
ticipation, in fact, of the glory of surmounting 
them was one of the main inducements which 
led him to embark in the enterprise. * The per- 
ils of the desert constituted one of the charms 

* For an account of one of these disastei-s, with an engrav- 
ing illustrative of the scene, see the History of Cyrus. 

B.C. 58.] Cleopatra's Father. 105 

Mark Antony's character His personal appearance. 

which made the expedition so attractive. He 
placed himself, therefore, at the head of his 
troop of cavalry, and set off across the sands in 
advance of Gabinius, to take Pelusium, in or- 
der thus to open a way for the main body of the 
army into Egypt. Ptolemy accompanied An- 
tony. Gabinius was to follow. 

With all his faults, to call them by no se- 
verer name, Mark Antony possessed certain 
great excellences of character. He was ardent, 
but then he was cool, collected, and sagacious ; 
and there was a certain frank and manly gener- 
osity continually evincing itself in his conduct 
and character which made him a great favorite 
among his men. He was at this time about 
twenty-eight years old, of a tall and manly 
form, and of an expressive and intellectual cast 
of countenance. His forehead was high, his 
nose aquiline, and his eyes full of vivacity and 
life. He was accustomed to dress in a very 
plain and careless manner, and he assumed an 
air of the utmost familiarity and freedom in his 
intercourse with his soldiers. He would join 
them in their sports, joke with them, and good- 
naturedly receive their jokes in return; and 
take his meals, standing with them around 
their rude tables, in the open field. Such hab- 

106 Cleopatra. [B.C. 55 

March across the desert. Pelusium taken, 

its of intercourse with his men in a commander 
of ordinary character would have been fatal to 
his ascendency over them ; but in Mark An- 
tony's case, these frank and familiar manners 
seemed only to make the military genius and the 
intellectual power which he possessed the more 
conspicuous and the more universally admired. 
Antony conducted his troop of horsemen 
across the desert in a very safe and speedy 
manner, and arrived before Pelusium. The 
city was not prepared to resist him. It surren- 
dered at once, and the whole garrison fell into 
his hands as prisoners of war. Ptolemy de- 
manded that they should all be immediately 
killed. They were rebels, he said, and, as such, 
ought to be put to death. Antony, however, 
as might have been expected from his charac- 
ter, absolutely refused to allow of any such bar- 
barity. Ptolemy, since the power was not yet 
in his hands, was compelled to submit, and to 
postpone gratifying the spirit of vengeance which 
had so long been slumbering in his breast to a 
future day. He could the more patiently sub- 
mit to this necessity, since it appeared that the 
day of his complete and final triumph over his 
daughter and all her adherents was now very 
nigh at hand. 



B.C. 55.] Cleopatra's Father. 109 

March across the Delta. Success of the Romans. 

In fact, Berenice and her government, when 
they heard of the arrival of Antony and Ptol- 
emy at Pelusium, of the fall of that city, and 
of the approach of Gabinius with an over- 
whelming force of Roman soldiers, were struck 
with dismay. Archelaus, the husband of Bere- 
nice, had been, in former years, a personal friend 
of Antony's. Antony considered, in fact, that 
they were friends still, though required by what 
the historian calls their duty to fight each other 
for the possession of the kingdom. The govern- 
ment of Berenice raised an army. Archelaus 
took command of it, and advanced to meet the 
enemy. In the mean time, Gabinius arrived 
with the main body of the Roman troops, and 
commenced his march, in conjunction with An- 
tony, toward the capital. As they were obliged 
to make a circuit to the southw^ard, in order to 
avoid the inlets and lagoons which, on the north- 
ern coast of Egypt, penetrate for some distance 
into the land, their course led them through the 
heart of the Delta. Many battles were fought, 
the Romans every where gaining the victory. 
The Egyptian soldiers were, in fact, discon- 
tented and mutinous, perhaps, in part, because 
they considered the government on the side of 
which they were compelled to engage as, after 

110 CLEOrATRA. [B.C. 55, 

Berenice a prisoner. Fate of Archelaus 

all, a usurpation. At length a great final bat- 
tle was fought, which settled the controversy. 
Archelaus was slain upon the field, and Bere- 
nice was taken prisoner ; their government was 
wholly overthrown, and the way was opened 
for the march of the Roman armies to Alexan- 

Mark Antony, when judged by our standards, 
was certainly, as well as Ptolemy, a depraved 
and vicious man ; but his depravity was of a 
very different type from that of Cleopatra's fa- 
ther. The difference in the men, in one re- 
spect, was very clearly evinced by the objects 
toward which their interest and attention were 
respectively turned after this great battle. 
While the contest had been going on, the king 
and queen of Egypt, Archelaus and Berenice, 
were, of course, in the view both of Antony and 
Ptolemy, the two most conspicuous personages 
in the army of their enemies ; and while An- 
tony would naturally watch with the greatest 
interest the fate of his friend, the king, Ptole- 
my, would as naturally follow with the highest 
concern the destiny of his daughter. Accord- 
ingly, when the battle was over, while the mind 
of Ptolemy might, as we should naturally ex- 
pect, be chiefly occupied by the fact that his 

B.C. 55.] Cleopatra's Father. Ill 

Grief of Antony. Unnatural joy of Ptolemy. 

daughter was made a captive, Antony's, we 
might suppose, would be engrossed by the tid- 
ings that his friend had been slain. 

The one rejoiced and the other mourned. 
Antony sought for the body of his friend on the 
field of battle, and when it was found, he gave 
himself wholly to the work of providing for it a 
most magnificent burial. He seemed, at the fu- 
neral, to lament the death of his ancient com- 
rade with real and unaffected grief. Ptolemy, 
on the other hand, was overwhelmed with joy 
at finding his daughter his captive. The long- 
wished-for hour for the gratification of his re- 
venge had come at last, and the first use which 
he made of his power when he was put in pos- 
session of it at Alexandria was to order his 
daughter to be beheaded. 

112 Cleopatra. [B.C. 55. 

Cleopatra. Excitement in Alexandria. 

Chapter V. 

Accession to the Throne. 

A T the time when the unnatural quarrel be- 
-^^^ tween Cleopatra's father and her sister 
was working its way tow^ard its dreadful term- 
ination, as related in the last chapter, she her- 
self was residing at the royal palace in Alexan- 
dria, a blooming and beautiful girl of about fif- 
teen. Fortunately for her, she was too young 
to take any active part personally in the con^ 
tention. Her two brothers were still younger 
than herself They all three remained, there- 
fore, in the royal palaces, quiet spectators of the 
revolution, without being either benefited or in- 
jured by it. It is singular that the name of 
both the boys was Ptolemy. 

The excitement in the city of Alexandria was 
intense and universal when the Roman army 
entered it to reinstate Cleopatra's father upon 
his throne. Avery large portion of the inhabit- 
ants were pleased with having the former king 
restored. In fact, it appears, by a retrospect of 
the history of kinoes, that when a les^itimate he- 

B.C.65.] The Accession. 113 

Ptolemy restored. Acquiescence of the people. 

reditary sovereign or dynasty is deposed and ex- 
pelled by a rebellious population, no matter how 
intolerable may have been the tyranny, or how 
atrocious the crimes by which the patience of 
the subject was exhausted, the lapse of a very 
few years is ordinarily sufficient to produce a 
very general readiness to acquiesce in a restora- 
tion ; and in this particular instance there had 
been no such superiority in the government of 
Berenice, during the period while her power, 
continued, over that of her father, which she 
had displaced, as to make this case an excep- 
tion to the general rule. The mass of the peo- 
ple, therefore — all those, especially, who had tak- 
en no active part in Berenice's government — 
were ready to welcome Ptolemy back to his cap- 
ital. Those who had taken such a part were 
all summarily executed by Ptolemy's orders. 

There was, of course, a great excitement 
throughout the city on the arrival of the Roman 
army. All the foreign influence and power 
which had been exercised in Egypt thus far, 
and almost all the officers, whether civil or mil- 
itary, had been Greek. The coming of the Ro- 
mans was the introduction of a new element of 
interest to add to the endless variety of excite- 
ments which animated the capital. 

114 Cleopatra. [B.C. 55. 

Festivities. Popularity of Antony. 

The restoration of Ptolemy was celebrated 
with games, spectacles, and festivities of every 
kind, and, of course, next to the king himself, 
the chief center of interest and attraction in all 
these public rejoicings would be the distin- 
guished foreign generals by whose instrument- 
ality the end had been gained. 

Mark Antony was a special object of public 
regard and admiration at the time. His eccen- 
tric manners, his frank and honest air, his Ro- 
man simplicity of dress and demeanor, made 
him conspicuous ; and his interposition to save 
the lives of the captured garrison of Pelusium. 
and the interest which he took in rendering 
such distinguished funeral honors to the enemy 
whom his army had slain in battle, impressed 
the people with the idea of a certain nobleness 
and magnanimity in his character, which, in 
spite of his faults, made him an object of gen- 
eral admiration and applause. The very faults 
of such a man assume often, in the eyes of the 
world, the guise and semblance of virtues. For 
example, it is related of Antony that, at one 
time in the course of his life, having a desire to 
make a present of some kind to a certain per- 
son, in requital for a favor which he had re- 
ceived from him, he ordered his treasurer to send 

B.C. 55.] The Accession. 115 

Antony's generosity. Anecdote. 

a sum of money to his friend — and named for the 
sum to be sent an amount considerably greater 
than was really required under the circum- 
stances of the case — acting thus, as he often 
did, under the influence of a blind and uncal- 
culating generosity. The treasurer, more pru- 
dent than his master, wished to reduce the 
amount, but he did not dare directly to propose 
a reduction ; so he counted out the money, and 
laid it in a pile in a place where Antony was 
to pass, thinking that v/hen Antony saw the 
amount, he would perceive that it was too great. 
Antony, in passing by, asked what money that 
was. The treasurer said that it was the sum 
that he had ordered to be sent as a present to 
such a person, naming the individual intended. 
Antony was quick to perceive the object of the 
treasurer's maneuver. He immediately replied, 
" Ah ! is that all ? I thought the sum I named 
would make a better appearance than that; 
send him double the amount." 

To determine, under such circumstances as 
these, to double an extravagance merely for the 
purpose of thwarting the honest attempt of a 
faithful servant to diminish it, made, too, in' so 
cautious and delicate a way, is most certainly 
a fault But it is one of those faults for which 

J16 Cleopatra. [B.C. 55. 

Antony and Cleopatra. Antony returns to Rome. 

the world, in all ages, will persist in admiring 
and praising the perpetrator. 

In a word, Antony became the object of gen- 
eral attention and favor during his continuance 
at Alexandria. Whether he particularly at- 
tracted Cleopatra's attention at this time or not 
does not appear. She, however, strongly at- 
tracted, his. He admired her blooming beauty, 
her sprightliness and wit, and her various ac- 
complishments. She was still, however, so 
young — being but fifteen years of age, while 
Antony was nearly thirty — that she probably 
made no very serious impression upon him. A" 
short time after this, Antony went back to 
Rome, and did not see Cleopatra again for 
many years. 

When the two Roman generals went away 
from Alexandria, they left a considerable por- 
tion of the army behind them, under Ptolemy's 
command, to aid him in keeping possession of 
his throne. Antony returned to Rome. He 
had acquired great renown by his march across 
the desert, and by the successful accomplish- 
ment of the invasion of Egypt and the restora- 
tion of Ptolemy. His funds, too, were replen- 
ished by the vast sums paid to him and to Ga- 
binius by Ptolemy. The amount which Ptoh 

B.C. 55.] The Accession. 117 

Ptolemy's murders. Pompey and Caesar. 

emy is said to have agreed to pay as the price 
of his restoration was two thousand talents — 
equal to ten millions of dollars — a sum which 
shows on how great a scale the operations of 
this celebrated campaign were conducted. Ptol- 
emy raised a large portion of the money re- 
quired for his payments by confiscating the es- 
tates belonging to those friends of Berenice's 
government whom he ordered to be slain. It 
was said, in fact, that the numbers were very 
much increased of those that were condemned 
to die, by Ptolemy's standing in such urgent 
need of their property to meet his obligations. 

Antony, through the results of this campaign, 
found himself suddenly raised from the position 
of a disgraced and homeless fugitive to that of 
one of the most wealthy and renowned, and, 
consequently, one of the most powerful person- 
ages in Rome. The great civil war broke out 
about this time between Csesar and Pompey. 
Antony espoused the cause of Csesar. 

In the mean time, while the civil war be- 
tween Csesar and Pompey was raging, Ptolemy 
succeeded in maintaining his seat on the throne, 
by the aid of the Roman soldiers whom Antony 
and Gabinius had left him, for about three 
years. When he found himself drawing toward 

118 Cleopatra. [B.C. 51. 

Close of Ptolemy's reign. Settlement, of the succession. 

the close of life, the question arose to his mind 
to whom he should leave his kingdom. Cleo- 
patra was the oldest child, and she was a prin- 
cess of great promise, both in respect to mental 
endowments and personal charms. Her broth- 
ers were considerably younger than she. The 
claim of a son, though younger, seemed to be 
naturally stronger than that of a daughter ; but 
the commanding talents and rising influence of 
Cleopatra appeared to make it doubtful whether 
it would be safe to pass her by. The father 
settled the question in the way in which such 
difficulties were usually surmounted in the Ptol- 
emy family. He ordained that Cleopatra should 
marry the oldest of her brothers, and that they 
two should jointly occupy the throne. Adher- 
ing also, still, to the idea of the alliance of 
Egypt with Rome, which had been the leading 
principle of the whole policy of his reign, he sol- 
emnly committed the execution of his will and 
the guardianship of his children, by a provision 
of the instrument itself, to the Eoman senate. 
The senate accepted the appointment, and ap- 
pointed Pompey as the agent, on their part, to 
perform the duties of the trust. The attention 
of Pompey was, immediately after that time, 
too much engrossed by the civil war waged be- 

B.C. 51-48.] The Accession. 119 

Accession of Cleopatra. She is married to her brother 

tween himself and Caesar, to take any active 
steps in respect to the duties of his appointment. 
It seemed, however, that none were necessary, 
for all parties in Alexandria appeared disposed, 
after the death of the king, to acquiesce in the 
arrangements which he had made, and to join 
in carrying them into effect. Cleopatra was 
married to her brother — yet, it is true, only a 
boy. He was about ten years old. She was 
herself about eighteen. They were both too 
young to govern ; they could only reign. The 
affairs of the kingdom were, accordingly, con- 
ducted by two ministers whom their father had 
designated. These ministers were Pothinus, a 
eunuch, who was a sort of secretary of state, 
and Achillas, the commander-in-chief of the ar- 

Thus, though Cleopatra, by these events, be- 
came nominally a queen, her real accession to 
the throne was not yet accomplished. There 
were still many difficulties and dangers to be 
passed through, before the period arrived when 
she became really a sovereign. She did not, 
herself, make any immediate attempt to hasten 
this period, but seems to have acquiesced, on 
the other hand, very quietly, for a time, in the 
arrangements which her father had made. 

120 Cleopatra. [B.C. 43. 

Pothinus the eunuch. His character and government 

Pothinus was a eunuch. He had been, for a 
long time, an officer of government under Ptol- 
emy, the father. He was a proud, ambitious, 
and domineering man, determined to rule, and 
very unscrupulous in respect to the means 
which he adopted to accomplish his ends. He 
had been accustomed to regard Cleopatra as a 
mere child. Now that she was queen, he was 
very unwilling that the real power should pass 
into her hands. The jealousy and ill will which 
he felt toward her increased rapidly as he found, 
in the course of the first two or three years aft- 
er her father's death, that she was advancing 
rapidly in strength of character, and in the in- 
fluence and ascendency which she was acquir- 
ing over all around her. Her beauty, her ac- 
complishments, and a certain indescribable 
charm which pervaded all her demeanor, com- 
bined to give her great personal power. But, 
while these things awakened in other minds 
feelings of interest in Cleopatra and attachment 
to her, they only increased the jealousy and envy 
of Pothinus. Cleopatra was becoming his ri- 
val. He endeavored to thwart and circumvent 
her. He acted toward her in a haughty and 
overbearing manner, in order to keep her down 
to what he considered her proper place as his 

B.C. 43.] The Accession. 121 

Machinations of Pothinus. Cleopatra is expelled. 

ward ; for he was yet the guardian both of Cle- 
opatra and her husband, and the regent of the 

Cleopatra had a great deal of what is some- 
times called spirit, and her resentment was 
aroused by this treatment. Pothinus took pains 
to enlist her young husband, Ptolemy, on his 
side, as the quarrel advanced. Ptolemy was 
younger, and of a character much less marked 
and decided than Cleopatra. Pothinus saw that 
he could maintain control over him much more 
easily and for a much longer time than over 
Cleopatra. He contrived to awaken the young 
Ptolemy's jealousy of his wife's rising influence, 
and to induce him to join in efforts to thwart 
and counteract it. These attempts to turn her 
husband against her only aroused Cleopatra's 
resentment the more. Hers was not a spirit to 
be coerced. The palace was filled with the dis- 
sensions of the rivals. Pothinus and Ptolemy 
began to take measures for securing the army 
on their side. An open rupture finally ensued, 
and Cleopatra was expelled from the kingdom. 

She went to Syria. Syria was the nearest 
place of refuge, and then, besides, it was the 
country from which the aid had been furnished 
by which her father had been restored to the 

122 Cleopatra. [B.C. 43. 

Cleopatra's army. Approaching contest 

throne when he had been expelled, in a similar 
manner, many years before. Her father, it is 
true, had gone first to Rome ; but the succors 
which he had negotiated for had been sent from 
Syria. Cleopatra hoped to obtain the same as- 
sistance by going directly there. 

Nor was she disappointed. She obtained an 
army, and commenced her march toward Egypt, 
following the same track which Antony and 
Gabinius had pursued in coming to reinstate 
her father. Pothinus raised an army and went 
forth to meet her. He took Achillas as the 
commander of the troops, and the young Ptole- 
my as the nominal sovereign ; while he, as the 
young king's guardian and prime minister, ex- 
ercised the real power. The troops of Pothinus 
advanced to Pelusium. Here they met the 
forces of Cleopatra coming from the east. The 
armies encamped not very far from each other, 
and both sides began to prepare for battle. 

The battle, however, was not fought. It was 
prevented by the occurrence of certain great 
and unforeseen events which at this crisis sud- 
denly burst upon the scene of Egyptian history, 
and turned the whole current of affairs into new 
and unexpected channels. The breaking out of 
the civil war between the great Roman gener- 

B.C. 43.] The Accession. 123 

Csesar and Pompey. Battle of Pharsalia. 

als Caesar and Pompey, and their respective par- 
tisans, has already been mentioned as having 
occurred soon after the death of Cleopatra's fa- 
ther, and as having prevented Pompey from 
undertaking the office of executor of the will. 
This war had been raging ever since that time 
with terrible fury. Its distant thundering had 
been heard even in Egypt, but it was too re- 
mote to awaken there any special alarm. The 
immense armies of these two mighty conquer- 
ors had moved slowly — like two ferocious birds 
of prey, flying through the air, and fighting as 
they fly — across Italy into Greece, and from 
Greece, through Macedon, into Thessaly, con- 
tending in dreadful struggles with each other as 
they advanced, and trampling down and de- 
stroying every thing in their way. At length 
a great final battle had been fought at Pharsa- 
lia. Pompey had been totally defeated. He 
had fled to the sea-shore, and there, with a few 
ships and a small number of followers, he had 
pushed out upon the Mediterranean, not know- 
ing whither to fly, and overwhelmed with 
wretchedness and despair. Csesar followed him 
in eager pursuit. He had a small fleet of gal- 
leys with him, on board of which he had em- 
barked two or three thousand men. This was 

124 Cleopatra. [B.C.43. 

Pompey at Pelusium. Treachery of Pothinus. 

a force suitable, perhaps, for the pursuit of a 
fugitive, but wholly insufficient for any other 

Pompey thought of Ptolemy. He remember-t 
ed the efforts which he himself had made for the 
cause of Ptolemy Auletes, at Eome, and the 
success of those efforts in securing that mon- 
arch's restoration — an event through which 
alone the young Ptolemy had been enabled to 
attain the crown. He came, therefore, to Pe- 
lusium, and, anchoring his little fleet off the 
shore, sent to the land to ask Ptolemy to receive 
and protect him. Pothinus, who was really the 
commander in Ptolemy's army, made answer 
to this application that Pompey should be re- 
ceived and protected, and that he would send 
out a boat to bring him to the shore. Pompey 
felt some misgivings in respect to this proffered 
hospitality, but he finally concluded to go to the 
shore in the boat which Pothinus sent for him. 
As soon as he landed, the Egyptians, by Pothi- 
nus's orders, stabbed and beheaded him on the 
sand. Pothinus and his council had decided 
that this would be the safest course. If they 
were to receive Pompey, they reasoned, Caesar 
would be made their enemy ; if they refused to 
receive him, Pompey himself would be offend' 

B.C. 43.] The Accession. 125 

CiBsar's pursuit of Pompey. His danger. 

ed, and they did not know which of the two it 
would be safe to displease ; for they did not 
know in what way, if both the generals were 
to be allowed to live, the war would ultimately 
end. '' But by killing Pompey," they said, '' we 
shall be sure to please Caesar, and Pompey him- 
self will lie stillP 

In the mean time, Csesar, not knowing to 
what part of Egypt Pompey had fled, pressed 
on directly to Alexandria. He exposed himself 
to great danger in so doing, for the forces under 
his command were not sufficient to protect him 
in case of his becoming involved in difficulties 
with the authorities there. Nor could he, when 
once arrived on the Egyptian coast, easily go 
away again ; for, at the season of the year in 
which these events occurred, there was a peri- 
odical wind which blew steadily toward that 
part of the coast, and, while it made it very easy 
for a fleet of ships to go to Alexandria, rendered 
it almost impossible for them to return. 

Csesar was very little accustomed to shrink 
from danger in any of his enterprises and plans, 
though still he was usually prudent and cir- 
cumspect. In this instance, however, his ar- 
dent interest in the pursuit of Pompey over- 
ruled all considerations of personal safety. He 

126 Cleopatra. [6.0.43. 

CfBsar at Alexandi-ia. Astonishment of the Egyptians. 

arrived at Alexandria, but he found that Pom- 
pey was not there. He anchored his vessels in 
the port, landed his troops, and established him- 
self in the city. These two events, the assas- 
sination of one of the great Roman generals on 
the eastern extremity of the coast, and the ar- 
rival of the other, at the same moment, at Al- 
exandria, on the western, burst suddenly upon 
Egypt together, like simultaneous claps of 
thunder. The tidings struck the whole coun- 
try with astonishment, and immediately en- 
grossed universal attention. At the camps both 
of Cleopatra and Ptolemy, at Pelusium, all was 
excitement and wonder. Instead of thinking of 
a battle, both parties were wholly occupied in 
speculating on the results which were likely to 
accrue, to one side or to the other, under the 
totally new and unexpected aspect which pub- 
lic affairs had assumed. 

Of course the thoughts of all were turned to- 
ward Alexandria. Pothinus immediately pro- 
ceeded to the city, taking with him the young 
king. Achillas, too, either accompanied them, 
or followed soon afterward. They carried with 
them the head of Pompey, which they had cut 
off on the shore where they had killed him, and 
also a seal which thev took from his finser. 

B.C. 43.] The Accession. 127 

Caesar presented with Pompey's head. Pompey's seal 

When they arrived at Alexandria, they sent the 
head, wrapped up in a cloth, and also the seal, 
as presents to Csesar. Accustomed as they 
were to the brutal deeds and heartless cruelties 
of the Ptolemies, they supposed that Caesar 
would exult at the spectacle of the dissevered 
and ghastly head of his great rival and enemy. 
Instead of this, he was shocked and displeased, 
and ordered the head to be buried with the most 
solemn and imposing funeral ceremonies. He, 
however, accepted and kept the seal. The de- 
vice engraved upon it was a lion holding a 
sword in his paw — a fit emblem of the charac- 
ters of the men, who, though in many respects 
magnanimous and just, had filled the whole 
world with the terror of their quarrels. 

The army of Ptolemy, while he himself awd 
his immediate counselors went to Alexandria, 
was left at Pelusium, under the command of 
other officers, to watch Cleopatra. Cleopatra 
herself would have been pleased, also, to repair 
to Alexandria and appeal to Csesar, if it had 
been in her power to do so ; but she was be- 
yond the confines of the country, with a power- 
ful army of her enemies ready to intercept her 
on any attempt to enter or pass through it. 
She remained, therefore, at Pelusium, uncer- 
tain what to do. 

12S Cleopatra. [B.C.43. 

Situation of CaBBar. His demands. 

In the mean time, Csesar soon found himself 
in a somewhat embarrassing situation at Alex- 
andria. He had been accustomed, for many 
years, to the possession and the exercise of the 
most absolute and despotic power, wherever he 
might be ; and now that Pompey, his great ri- 
val, was dead, he considered himself the mon- 
arch and master of the world. He had not, 
however, at Alexandria, any means sufficient 
to maintain and enforce such pretensions, and 
yet he was not of a spirit to abate, on that ac- 
count, in the slightest degree, the advancing of 
them. He established himself in the palaces of 
Alexandria as if he were himself the king. He 
moved, in state, through the streets of the city, 
at the head of his guards, and displaying the 
customary emblems of supreme authority used 
at Rome. He claimed the six thousand talents 
which Ptolemy Auletes had formerly promised 
him for procuring a treaty of alliance with 
Rome, and he called upon Pothinus to pay the 
balance due. He said, moreover, that by the 
will of Auletes the Roman people had been 
made the executor ; and that it devolved upon 
him as the Roman consul, and, consequently, 
the representative of the Roman people, to as- 
sume that trust, and in the discharge of it to 

B.C.43.] The Accession. 129 

Conduct of Pothinus. Quarrels. 

settle the dispute between Ptolemy and Cleo- 
patra ; and he called upon Ptolemy to prepare 
and lay before him a statement of his claims, 
and the grounds on which he maintained his 
right to the throne to the exclusion of Cleopatra. 
On the other hand, Pothinus, who had been 
as little accustomed to acknowledge a superior 
as Caesar, though his supremacy and domina- 
tion had been exercised on a somewhat hum- 
bler scale, was obstinate and pertinacious in re- 
sisting all these demands, though the means 
and methods which he resorted to were of a 
character corresponding to his weak and igno- 
ble mind. He fomented quarrels in the streets 
between the Alexandrian populace and Caesar's 
soldiers. He thought that, as the number of 
troops under Caesar's command in the city, and 
of vessels in the port. Was small, he could tease 
and worry the Romans with impunity, though 
he had not the courage openly to attack them. 
He pretended to be a friend, or, at least, not an 
enemy, and yet he conducted toward them in 
an overbearing and insolent manner. He had 
agreed to make arrangements for supplying 
them with food, and he did this by procuring 
damaged provisions of a most wretched quality ; 
and when the soldiers remonstrated, he said to 

130 Cleopatra. [B.C. 43. 

Policy of Pothinus. Contentions. 

them, that they who lived at other people's cost 
had no right to complain of their fare. He^ 
caused wooden and earthen vessels to be used 
in the palace, and said, in explanation, that he 
had been compelled to sell all the gold and silver 
plate of the royal household to meet the exac- 
tions of Csesar. He busied himself, too, about 
the city, in endeavoring to excite odium against 
Caesar's proposal to hear and decide the ques- 
tion at issue between Cleopatra and Ptolemy. 
Ptolemy was a sovereign, he said, and was not 
amenable to any foreign power whatever. Thus, 
without the courage or the energy to attempt 
any open, manly, and effectual system of hos- 
tility, he contented himself with making all the 
difficulty in his power, by urging an incessant 
pressure of petty, vexatious, and provoking, but 
useless annoyances. Caesar's demands may 
have been unjust, but they were bold, manly, 
and undisguised. The eunuch may have been 
right in resisting them ; but the mode was so 
mean and contemptible, that mankind have al- 
ways taken part with Caesar in the sentiments 
which they have formed as spectators of the 

With the very small force which Caesar had 
at his command, and shut up as he was in the 

B.C.43.] The Accession. 131 

CsBsar sends to Syria for additional troops. 

midst of a very great and powerful city, in 
which both the garrison and the population were 
growing more and more hostile to him every 
day, he soon found his situation was beginning 
to be attended with very serious danger. He 
could not retire from the scene. He probably 
would not have retired if he could have done so. 
He remained, therefore, in the city, conducting 
all the time with prudence and circumspection, 
but yet maintaining, as at first, the same air of 
confident self-possession and superiority which 
always characterized his demeanor. He, how- 
ever, dispatched a messenger forthwith into 
Syria, the nearest country under the Roman 
sway, with orders that several legions which 
were posted there should be embarked and for- 
warded to Alexandria with the utmost possible 

132 Cleopatra. [B.C. 48 

Cleopatra's perplexity. She resolves to go to Alexandriar 

Chapter VL 
Cleopatra and C^sar. 

N the mean time, while the events related in 
the last chapter were taking place at Alex- 
andria, Cleopatra remained anxious and uneasy 
in her camp, quite uncertain, for a time, what 
it was best for her to do. She wished to be at 
Alexandria. She knew very well that Caesar's 
power in controlling the course of affairs in 
Egypt would necessarily be supreme. She was, 
of course, very earnest in her desire to be able 
to present her cause before him. As it was, 
Ptolemy and Potliinus were in communication 
with the arbiter, and, for aught she knew, as- 
siduously cultivating his favor, while she was 
far away, her cause unheard, her wrongs un- 
known, and perhaps even her existence forgot- 
ten. Of course, under such circumstances, she 
was very earnest to get to Alexandria. 

But how to accomplish this purpose w^as a 
source of great perplexity. She could not march 
thither at the head of an army, for the army of 
the king was strongly intrenched at Pelusium, 

B.C. 48.] Cleopatra and CiESAR. 138 

Cleopatra's message to Caesar. Caesar's reply. 

and effectually barred the way. She could not 
attempt to pass alone, or with few attendants, 
through the country, for every town and village 
was occupied with garrisons and officers under 
the orders of Pothinus, and she would be cer- 
tainly intercepted. She had no fleet, and could 
not, therefore, make the passage by sea. Be- 
sides, even if she could by any means reach the 
gates of Alexandria, how was she to pass safely 
through the streets of the city to the palace 
where Csesar resided, since the city, except in 
Caesar's quarters, was wholly in the hands of 
Pothinus's government ? The difficulties in the 
way of accomplishing her object seemed thus 
almost insurmountable. 

She was, however, resolved to make the at- 
tempt. She sent a message to Csesar, asking 
permission to appear before him and plead her 
own cause. Csesar replied, urging her by sill 
means to come. She took a single boat, and 
with the smallest number of attendants possi- 
ble, made her way along the coast to Alexan- 
dria. The man on whom she principally relied 
in this hazardous expedition was a domestic 
named ApoUodorus. She had, however, some 
other attendants besides. When the party reach- 
ed Alexandria, they waited until night, and then 

134 Cleopatra. [B.C. 38. 

ApoUodorus's stratagem. Cleopatra and Caesar. 

advanced to the foot of the walls of the citadel. 
Here Apollodorus rolled the queen up in a piece 
of carpeting, and, covering the v^hole package 
with a cloth, he tied it with a thong, so as to 
give it the appearance of a bale of ord inary mer- 
chandise, and then throwing the load across his 
shoulder, he advanced into the city. Cleopatra 
was at this time about twenty-one years of age, 
but she was of a slender and graceful form, and 
the burden was, consequently, not very heavy. 
Apollodorus came to the gates of the palace 
where Caesar was residing. The guards at the 
gates asked him what it was that he was car- 
rying. He said that it was a present for Cse- 
sar. So they allowed him to pass, and the pre- 
tended porter carried his package safely in. 

When it was unrolled, and Cleopatra came 
out to view, Csesar was perfectly charmed with 
the spectacle. In fact, the various conflicting 
emotions which she could not but feel under 
such circumstances as these, imparted a double 
interest to her beautiful and expressive face, 
and to her naturally bewitching manners. She 
was excited by the adventure through which 
she had passed, and yet pleased with her nar- 
row escape from its dangers. The curiosity 
and interest which she felt on the one hand, in 

B.C. 48.] Cleopatra and C^sar. 137 

First impressions. Caesar's attachment. 

respect to the great personage into whose pres- 
ence she had been thus strangely ushered, was 
very strong; but then, on the other, it was 
chastened and subdued by that feeling of timid- 
ity which, in new and unexpected situations 
like these, and under a consciousness of being 
the object of eager observation to the other sex, 
is inseparable from the nature of woman. 

The conversation which Caesar held with Cle- 
opatra deepened the impression which her first 
appearance had made upon him. Her intelli- 
gence and animation, the originality of her ideas, 
and the point and pertinency of her mode of ex- 
pressing them, made her, independently of her 
personal charms, an exceedingly entertaining 
and agreeable companion. She, in fact, com- 
pletely won the great conqueror's heart; and, 
through the strong attachment to her which he 
immediately formed, he became wholly disqual- 
ified to act impartially between her and her 
brother in regard to their respective rights to 
the crown. We call Ptolemy Cleopatra's broth- 
er ; for, though he was also, in fact, her husband, 
still, as he was only ten or twelve years of age 
at the time of Cleopatra's expulsion from Alex- 
andria, the marriage had been probably regard- 
ed, thus far, only as a mere matter of form. 

138 Cleopatra. [B.C. 48. 

CEBsar's wife. His fondness for Cieopntra. 

Caesar was now about fifty-two. He had a 
wife, named Calpurnia, to whom he had been 
married about ten years. She was living, at 
this time, in an unostentatious and quiet man 
oer at Rome. She was a lady of an amiable 
and gentle character, devotedly attached to her 
husband, patient and forbearing in respect to 
his faults, and often anxious and unhappy at 
the thought of the difficulties and dangers in 
which his ardent and unbounded ambition so 
often involved him. 

CsBsar immediately began to take a very 
strong interest in Cleopatra's cause. He treat- 
ed her personally with the fondest attention, 
and it was impossible for her not to reciprocate 
in some degree the kind feeling with which he 
regarded her. It was, in fact, something alto- 
gether new to her to have a warm and devoted 
friend, espousing her cause, tendering her pro- 
tection, and seeking in every way to promote 
her happiness. Her father had all his life neg- 
lected her. Her brother, of years and under- 
standing totally inferior to hers, whom she had 
been compelled to make her husband, had be- 
come her mortal enemy. It is true that, in de- 
priving her of her inheritance and expelling her 
from her native land, he had been only the tool 

B.C. 48.] Cleopatra and C^sar. 139 

Cleopatra's foes. She commits her cause to Caesar. 

and instrument of more designing men. This, 
however, far from improving the point of view 
from which she regarded him, made him appear 
not only hateful, but contemptible too. All the 
officers of government, also, in the Alexandrian 
court had turned against her, because they had 
supposed that they could control her brother 
more easily if she were away. Thus she had 
always been surrounded by selfish, mercenary, 
and implacable foes. Now, for the first time, 
she seemed to have a friend. A protector had 
suddenly arisen to support and defend her — a 
man of very alluring person and manners, of a 
very noble and generous spirit, and of the very 
highest station. He loved her, and she could 
not refrain from loving him in return. She 
committed her cause entirely into his hands, 
confided to him all her interests, and gave her- 
self up wholly into his power. 

Nor was the unbounded confidence which she 
reposed in him undeserved, so far as related to 
his efforts to restore her to her throne. The le- 
gions which Cffisar had sent for into Syria had 
not yet arrived, and his situation in Alexandria 
was still very defenseless and very precarious. 
He did not, hov/ever, on this account, abate in 
the least degree the loftiness and seif-confidenGe 

140. Cleopatra. [B.C. 48. 

Caesar's pretensions. He sends for Ptolemy. 

of the position which he had assumed, but he 
commenced immediately the work of securing 
Cleopatra's restoration. This quiet assumption 
of the right and power to arbitrate and decide 
such a question as that of the claim to the 
throne, in a country where he had accidentally 
landed and found rival claimants disputing for 
the succession, while he was still wholly desti- 
tute of the means of enforcing the superiority 
which he so coolly assumed, marks the im- 
mense ascendency which the Roman power had 
attained at this time in the estimation of man- 
kind, and is, besides, specially characteristic of 
the genius and disposition of Caesar. 

Very soon after Cleopatra had come to him, 
Csesar sent for the young Ptolemy, and urged 
upon him the duty and expediency of restoring 
Cleopatra. Ptolemy was beginning now to at- 
tain an age at which he might be supposed to 
have some opinion of liis own on such a ques- 
tion. He declared himself utterly opposed to 
any such design. In the course of the conver- 
sation he learned that Cleopatra had arrived at 
Alexandria, and that she was then concealed in 
Caesar's palace* This intelligence awakened in 
his mind the greatest excitement and indigna- 
tion. He went away from Csesar's presence in 

B.C. 48.] Cleopatra and C^sar. 141 

Ptolemy's indignation. His complaints against Cassar. 

a rage. He tore the diadem which he was ac- 
customed to wear from his head in the streets, 
threw it down, and trampled it under his feet. 
He declared to the people that he was betrayed, 
and displayed the most violent indications of 
vexation and chagrin. The chief subject of his 
complaint, in the attempts which he made to 
awaken the popular indignation against Caesar 
and the Eomans, was the disgraceful impropri- 
ety of the position which his sister had assumed 
in surrendering herself as she had done to Cse- 
sar. It is most probable, however, unless his 
character was very different from that of every 
other Ptolemy in the line, that what really awak- 
ened his jealousy and anger was fear of the 
commanding influence and power to which Cle- 
opatra was likely to attain through the agency 
of so distinguisTied a protector, rather than any 
other consequences of his friendship, or any real 
considerations of delicacy in respect to his sis- 
ter's good name or his own marital honor. 

However this may be, Ptolemy, togethei 
with Pothinus and Achillas, and all his other 
friends and adherents, who joined him in the ter- 
rible outcry that he made against the coalition 
which he had discovered between Cleopatra and 
Caesar, succeeded in producing a very general 

142 Cleopatra. [B.C. 48. 

Great tumult in the city. Excitement of the populace. 

and violent tumult throughout the city. The 
populace were aroused, and began to assemble 
in great crowds, and full of indignation and an- 
ger. Some knew the facts, and acted under 
something like an understanding of the cause 
of their anger. Others only knew that the aim 
of this sudden outbreak was to assault the Ro- 
mans, and were ready, on any pretext, known 
or unknown, to join in any deeds of violence 
directed against these foreign intruders. There 
were others still, and these, probably, far the 
larger portion, who knew nothing and under- 
stood nothing but that there was to be tumult 
and a riot in and around the palaces, and were, 
accordingly, eager to be there. 

Ptolemy and his officers had no large body of 
troops in Alexandria ; for the events which had 
thus far occurred since Csesar's arrival had suc- 
ceeded each other so rapidly, that a very short 
time had yet elapsed, and the main army re- 
mained still at Pelusium. The main force, 
therefore, by which Csesar was now attacked, 
consisted of the population of the city, headed, 
perhaps, by the few guards which the young 
king had at his command. 

Csesar, on his part, had but a small portion 
of his forces at the palace where he was attack- 

B.C. 48.] Cleopatra and CiESAR. 143 

CfBsar's forces. Ptolemy made prisoner. 

ed. The rest were scattered about the city. 
He, however, seems to have felt no alarm. He 
did not even confine himself to acting on the de- 
fensive. He sent out a detachment of his sol- 
diers with orders to seize Ptolemy and bring 
him in a prisoner. Soldiers trained, disciplined, 
and armed as the Roman veterans were, and 
nerved by the ardor and enthusiasm which 
seemed always to animate troops which were 
under Caesar's personal command, could accom- 
plish almost any undertaking against a mere 
populace, however numerous or however furi- 
ously excited they might be. The soldiers sal- 
lied out, seized Ptolemy, and brought him in. 

The populace were at first astounded at the 
daring presumption of this deed, and then ex- 
asperated at the indignity of it, considered as a 
violation of the person of their sovereign. The 
tumult would have greatly increased, had it not 
been that Csesar — who had now attained all 
his ends in thus having brought Cleopatra and 
Ptolemy both within his power — thought it 
most expedient to allay it. He accordingly as- 
cended to the window of a tower, or of some 
other elevated portion of his palace, so high that 
missiles from the mob below could not reach 
him, and began to make signals expressive ol 
his wish to address them. 

144 Cleopatra. [B.C.48. 

Caesar's address to the people. Its effects. 

When silence was obtained, he made them a 
speech well calculated to quiet the excitement. 
He told them that he did not pretend to any 
right to judge between Cleopatra and Ptolemy 
as their superior, but only in the performance 
of the duty solemnly assigned by Ptolemy Au- 
letes, the father, to the Roman people, whose 
representative he was. Other than this he 
claimed no jurisdiction in the case ; and his 
only wish, in the discharge of the duty which 
devolved upon him to consider the cause, was to 
settle the question in a manner just and equi- 
table to all the parties concerned, and thus ar- 
rest the progress of the civil war, which, if not 
arrested, threatened to involve the country in 
the most terrible calamities. He counseled 
them, therefore, to disperse, and no longer dis- 
turb the peace of the city. He would imme- 
diately take measures for trying the question 
between Cleopatra and Ptolemy, and he did not 
doubt but that they would all be satisfied with 
his decision. 

This speech, made, as it was, in the eloquent 
and persuasive, and yet dignified and imposing 
manner for which Caesar's harangues to turbu- 
lent assemblies like these were so famed, pro- 
duced a great effect. Some were convinced, 

B.C. 48.] Cleopatra and C^sar. 145 

The mob dispersed. Caesar convenes an assembly. 

others were silenced ; and those whose resent- 
ment and anger were not appeased, found them- 
selves deprived of their power by the pacifica- 
tion of the rest. The mob was dispersed, and 
Ptolemy remained with Cleopatra in Caesar's 

The next day, Caesar, according to his prom- 
ise, convened an assembly of the principal peo- 
ple of Alexandria and officers of state, and then 
brought out Ptolemy and Cleopatra, that he 
might decide their cause. The original will 
which Ptolemy Auletes had executed had been 
deposited in the public archives of Alexandria, 
and carefully preserved there. An authentic 
copy of it had been sent to Rome. Caesar caus- 
ed the original will to be brought out and read 
to the assembly. The provisions of it were per- 
fectly explicit and clear* It required that Cle- 
opatra and Ptolemy should be married, and then 
settled the sovereign power upon them jointly, 
as king and queen. It recognized the Roman 
commonwealth as the ally of Egypt, and con- 
stituted the Roman government the executor 
of the will, and the guardian of the king and 
queen. In fact, so clear and explicit was this 
document, that the simple reading of it seemed 
1-0 be of itself a decision of the question. 'When... 

146 Cleopatra. [B.C.48. 

Caesar's decision. Satisfaction of the assembly. 

therefore, Csesar announced that, in his judg- 
ment, Cleopatra was entitled to share the su- 
preme power with Ptolemy, and that it was his 
duty, as the representative of the Roman power 
and the executor of the will, to protect both the 
king and the queen in their respective rights, 
there seemed to be nothing that could b^ said 
against his decision. 

Besides Cleopatra and Ptolemy, there were 
two other children of Ptolemy Auletes in the 
royal family at this time. One was a girl, 
named Arsinoe. The other, a boy, was, singu- 
larly enough, named, like his brother, Ptolemy. 
These children were quite young, but Caesar 
thought that it would perhaps gratify the Alex 
andrians, and lead them to acquiesce more read 
ily in his decision, if he were to make some- 
royal provision for them. He accordingly pro 
posed to assign the island of Cyprus as a realn 
for them. This was literally a gift, for Cyprus 
was at this time a Eoman possession.^ 

The whole assembly seemed satisfied with 
this decision except Pothinus. He had been so 
determined and inveterate an enemy to Cleopa- 
tra, that, as he was well aware, her restoration 

* For the position of this island in respect to Egypt and 
the neighboring countries, see map, frontispiece. 

B.C. 48.] Cleopatra and C^sar. 147 

Festivals and rejoicings. Pothinus and Achillas. 

must end in his downfall and ruin. He went 
away from the assembly moodily determining 
that he would not submit to the decision, but 
would immediately adopt efficient measures to 
prevent its being carried into effect. 

Csesar made arrangements for a series of fes- 
tivals and celebrations, to commemorate and 
confirm the re-establishment of a good under- 
standing between the king and the queen, and 
the consequent termination of the war. Such 
celebrations, lie judged, would have great influ- 
ence in removing any remaining animosities 
from the minds of the people, and restore the 
dominion of a kind and friendly feeling through- 
out the city. The people fell in with these 
measures, and cordially co-operated to give 
them effect ; but Pothinus and Achillas, though 
they suppressed all outward expressions of dis- 
content, made incessant efforts in secret to or- 
ganize a party, and to form plans for overthrow- 
ing the influence of Caesar, and making Ptole- 
my again the sole and exclusive sovereign. 

Pothinus represented to all whom he could 
induce to listen to him that Caesar's real design 
was to make Cleopatra queen alone, and to de- 
pose Ptolemy, and urged them to combine with 
him to resist a policy which would end in bring- 

148 Clfopatra. [B.C. 48. 

Plot of Pothinus and Achillas. Escape of Achillas. 

ing Egypt under the dominion of a woman. 
He also formed a plan, in connection with Achil- 
las, for ordering the army back from Pelusium. 
The army consisted of thirty thousand men. 
If that army could be brought to Alexandria 
and kept under Pothinus's orders, Caesar and his 
three thousand Roman soldiers would be, they 
thought, wholly at their mercy. 

There was, however, one danger to be guard- 
ed against in ordering the army to march to- 
ward the capital, and that was, that Ptolemy, 
while under Csesar's influence, might open com- 
munications with the officers, and so obtain 
command of its movements, and thwart all the 
conspirators' designs. To prevent this, it was 
arranged between Pothinus and Achillas that 
the latter should make his escape from Alexan- 
dria, proceed immediately to the camp at Pelu- 
sium, resume the command of the troops there, 
and conduct them himself to the capital ; and 
that in all these operations, and also subse- 
quently on his arrival, he should obey no or- 
ders unless they came to him through Pothinus 

Although sentinels and guards were probably 
stationed at the gates and avenues leading from 
the city, Achillas contrived to effect his escape 

B.C. 48.] Cleopatra and C^sar. 149 

March of the Egyptian army. Measures of Csesar. 

and to join the army. He placed himself at the 
head of the forces, and commenced his march 
toward the capital. Pothinus remained all the 
time within the city as a spy, pretending to 
acquiesce in Caesar's decision, and to be on 
friendly terms with him, but really plotting for 
his overthrow, and obtaining all the information 
which his position enabled him to command, in 
order that he might co-operate with the army 
and Achillas when they should arrive. 

All these things were done with the utmost 
secrecy, and so cunning and adroit were the 
conspirators in forming and execudng their 
plots, that Csesar seems to have had no knowl- 
edge of the measures which his enemies were 
taking, until he suddenly heard that the main 
body of Ptolemy's army was approaching the 
city, at least twenty thousand strong. In the 
meah time, however, the forces which he had 
sent for from Syria had not arrived, and no al- 
ternative was left but to defend the capital and 
himself as well as he could with the very small 
force which he had at his disposal. 

He determined, however, first, to try the ef- 
fect of orders sent out in Ptolemy's name to for- 
bid the approach of the army to the city. Two 
officers were accordingly intrusted with these 

150 Cleopatra. [B.C. 48. 

Murder of the messengers. Intentions of Achillas. 

orders, and sent out to communicate them to 
Achillas. The names of these officers were Di- 
oscorides and Serapion. 

It shows in a very striking point of view to 
what an incredible exaltation the authority and 
consequence of a sovereign king rose in those 
ancient days, in the minds of men, that Achil- 
las, at the moment when these men made their 
appearance in the camp, bearing evidently some 
command from Ptolemy in the city, considered 
it more prudent to kill them at once, without 
hearing their message, rather than to allow the 
orders to be delivered and then take the respon- 
sibility of disobeying them. If he could suc- 
ceed in marching to Alexandria and in taking 
possession of the city, and then in expelling 
CsBsar and Cleopatra and restoring Ptolemy to 
the exclusive possession of the throne, he knew 
very well that the king would rejoice in the re- 
sult, and would overlook all irregularities on his 
part in the means by which he had accomplish- 
ed it, short of absolute disobedience of a known 
command. "Whatever might be the commands 
that these messengers were bringing him, he 
supposed that they doubtless originated, not in 
Ptolemy's own free will, but that they were dic- 
tated by the authority of Ceesar. Still, they 

B.C. 48.] Cleopatra and Caesar. 151 

Cold-blooded assassination. Advance of AchiZlas. 

would be commands coming in Ptolemy's name ; 
and the universal experience of officers serving 
under the military despots of those ancient days 
showed that, rather than to take the responsi- 
bility of directly disobeying a royal order once 
received, it was safer to avoid receiving it by 
murdering the messengers. 

Achillas therefore directed the officers to be 
seized and slain. They were accordingly tak- 
en off and speared by the soldiers, and then the 
bodies were borne away. The soldiers, how- 
ever, it was found, had not done their work ef- 
fectually. There was no interest for them in 
such a cold-blooded assassination, and perhaps 
something like a sentiment of compassion re- 
strained their hands. At any rate, though both 
the men were desperately wounded, one only 
died. The other lived and recovered. 

Achillas continued to advance toward the 
city. Caesar, finding that the crisis which was 
approaching was becoming very serious in its 
character, took, himself, the whole command 
within the capital, and began to make the best 
arrangements possible under the circumstances 
of the case to defend himself there. His num- 
bers were altogether too small to defend the 
whole city against the overwhelming force which 

152 Cleopatra. [B.C. 48. 

Csesar's arrangements for defense. Cleopatra and Ptolemy. 

was advancing to assail it. He accordingly in- 
trenched his troops in the palaces and in the 
citadel, and in such other parts of the city as it 
seemed practicable to defend. He barrii5aded 
all the streets and avenues leading to these 
points, and fortified the gates. Nor did he, 
while thus doing all in his power to employ the 
insufficient means of defense already in his 
hands to the best advantage, neglect the proper 
exertions for obtaining succor from abroad. He 
sent off galleys to Syria, to Cyprus, to Rhodes, 
and to every other point accessible from Alex- 
andria where Roman troops might be expected 
to be found, urging the authorities there to for- 
ward re-enforcements to him with the utmost 
possible dispatch. 

During all this time Cleopatra and Ptolemy 
remained in the palkce with Csesar, both osten- 
sibly co-operating with him in his councils and 
measures for defending the city from Achillas. 
Cleopatra, of course, was sincere and in earnest 
in this co-operation ; but Ptolemy's adhesion to 
t!ie common cause was very little to be relied 
upon. Although, situated as he was, he was 
compelled to seem to be on Csesar's side, he 
must have secretly desired that Achillas should 
succeed and Csesar's plans be overthrown. Po- 

B.C. 48.] Cleopatra and C^sar. 153 

Double dealing of Pothinus. He is detected. 

thinus was more active, though not less cau- 
tious in his hostility to them. He opened a se- 
cret communication with Achillas, sending him 
information, from time to time, of what took 
place within the walls, and of the arrangements 
made there for the defense of the city against 
him, and gave him also directions how to pro- 
ceed. He was very wary and sagacious in all 
these movements, feigning all the time to be on 
Caesar's side. He pretended to be very zealous- 
ly employed in aiding Caesar to secure more ef- 
fectually the various points where attacks were 
to be expected, and in maturing and completing 
the arrangements for defense. 

But, notwithstanding all his cunning, he was 
detected in his double dealing, and his career 
was suddenly brought to a close, before the great 
final conflict came on. There was a barber in 
CsBsar's household, who, for some cause or oth- 
er, began to suspect Pothinus ; and, having lit- 
tle else to do, he employed himself in watching 
the eunuch's movements and reporting them to 
Caesar. Caesar directed the barber to continue 
his observations. He did so ; his suspicions 
were soon confirmed, and at length a letter, 
which Pothinus had written to Achillas, was 
intercepted and brought to Caesar. This fur- 

154 Cleopatra. J;B.C.48. 

Pothinus beheaded. Arsinoe and Ganymede. 

nished the necessary proof of what they called 
his guilt, and Csesar ordered him to be be- 

This circumstance produced, of course, a 
great excitement within the palace, for Pothi- 
nus had been for many years the great ruling 
minister of state — the king, in fact, in all but 
in name. His execution alarmed a great mdny 
others, who, though in Caesar's power, were se- 
cretly wishing that Achillas might prevail. 
Among those most disturbed by these fears was 
a man named Ganymede. He was the officer 
who had charge of Arsinoe, Cleopatra's sister. 
The arrangement which Csesar had proposed for 
establishing her in conjunction with her brother 
Ptolemy over the island of Cyprus had not gone 
into effect ; for, immediately after the decision 
of Csesar, the attention of all concerned had 
been wholly engrossed by the tidings of the ad- 
vance of the army, and by the busy prepara- 
tions which were required on all hands for the 
impending contest. Arsinoe, therefore, with her 
governor Ganymede, remained in the palace. 
Ganymede had joined Pothinus in his plots ; 
and when Pothinus was beheaded, he concluded 
that it would be safest for him to fly. 

He accordingly resolved to make his escape 

B.C. 48.] Cleopatra and C^sar. 155 

Flight of Arsinoe. She is proclaimed queen by the army. 

from the city, taking Arsinoe with him. It was 
a very hazardous attempt, but he succeeded in 
accomplishing it. Arsinoe was very willing to 
go, for she was now beginning to be old enough 
to feel the impulse of that insatiable and reck- 
less ambition which seemed to form such an es- 
sential element in the character of every son 
and daughter in the whole Ptolemaic line. She 
was insignificant and powerless where she was, 
but at the head of the army she might become 
immediately a queen. 

It resulted, in the first instance, as she had 
anticipated. Achillas and his army received 
her with acclamations. Under Ganymede's in- 
fluence they decided that, as all the other mem- 
bers of the royal family were in durance, being 
held captive by a foreign general, who had by 
chance obtained possession of the capital, and 
were thus incapacitated for exercising the royal 
power, the crown devolved upon Arsinoe ; and 
they accordingly proclaimed her queen. 

Every thing was now prepared for a despe- 
rate and determined contest for the crown be- 
tween Cleopatra, with Caesar for her minister 
and general, on the one side, and Arsinoe, with 
Ganymede and Achillas for her chief officers, 
on the other. The young Ptolemy, in the mean 

156 Cleopatra. [B.C. 48. 

Perplexity of the young Ptolemy. 

time, remained Caesar's prisoner, confused with 
the intricacies in which the quarrel had become 
involved, and scarcely knowing now what to 
wish in respect to the issue of the contest. It 
was very difficult to foresee whether it would 
be best for him that Cleopatra or that Arsinoe 
should succeed. 

B.C. 47.] The Alexandrine War. 157 

The Alexandrine war. Forces of Cfflsar. 

Chapter VII. 
The Alexandrine War. 

THE war which ensued as the result of the 
intrigues and maneuvers described in the 
last chapter is known in the history of Rome 
and Julius Csesar as the Alexandrine war. The 
events which occurred during the progress of it, 
and its termination at last in the triumph of 
CsBsar and Cleopatra, will form the subject of 
this chapter. 

Achillas had greatly the advantage over Cse- 
sar at the outset of the contest, in respect to 
the strength of the forces under his command. 
Csesar, in fact, had with him only a detachment 
of three or four thousand men, a small body of 
troops which he had hastily put on board a little 
squadron of Rhodian galleys for pursuing Pom- 
pey across the Mediterranean. When he set 
sail from the European shores with this incon- 
siderable fleet, it is probable that he had no ex- 
pectation even of landing in Egypt at all, and 
much less of being involved in great military 
undertakings there. Achillas, on the other 

158 Cleopatra. [B.C.47. 

The Egyptian army. Fugitive slaves, 

hand, was at the head of a force of twenty thou- 
sand effective men. His troops were, it is true, 
of a somewhat miscellaneous character, but 
they were all veteran soldiers, inured to the cli- 
mate of Egypt, and skilled in all the modes of 
warfare which were suited to the character of 
the country. Some of them were Roman sol- 
diers, men who had come with, the army of 
Mark Antony from Syria when Ptolemy Au- 
letes, Cleopatra's father, was reinstated on the 
throne, and had been left in Egypt, in Ptole- 
my's service, when Antony returned to Rome. 
Some were native Egyptians. There was also 
in the army of Achillas a large number of fu- 
gitive slaves — refugees who had made their es- 
cape from various points along the shores of the 
Mediterranean, at different periods, and had 
been from time to time incorporated into the 
Egyptian army. These fugitives were all men 
of the most determined and desperate character. 
Achillas had also in his command a force of 
two thousand horse. Such a body of cavalry 
made him, of course, perfect master of all the 
open country outside the city walls. At the 
head of these troops Achillas gradually advanced 
to the very gates of Alexandria, invested the 
city on every side, and shut Csesar closely in. 

B.C. 47.] The Alexandrine War. 159 

Dangerous situation of Csesar. Presence of Ceesar. 

The danger of the situation in which Csesar 
was placed was extreme ; but he had been so 
accustomed to succeed in extricating himself 
from the most imminent perils, that neither he 
himself nor his army seem to have experienced 
any concern in respect to the result. Csesar 
personally felt a special pride and pleasure in 
encountering the difficulties and dangers which 
now beset him, because Cleopatra was with him 
to witness his demeanor, to admire his energy 
and courage, and to reward by her love the ef- 
forts and sacrifices which he was making in es- 
pousing her cause. She confided every thing 
to him, but she watched all the proceedings 
with the most eager interest, elated with hope 
in respect to the result, and proud of the cham- 
pion who had thus volunteered to defend her. 
In a word, her heart was full of gratitude, ad- 
miration, and love. 

The immediate effect, too, of the emotions 
which she felt so strongly was greatly to height- 
en her natural charms. The native force and 
energy of her character were softened and sub- 
dued. Her voice, which always possessed a cer- 
tain inexpressible charm, was endued with new 
sweetness through the influence of affection. 
Her countenance beamed with fresh animation 

160 Cleopatra. [B.C.47. 

Influence of Cleoptitra. First measures of Caesar. 

and beauty, and the sprightliness and vivacity 
of her character, M^hich became at later periods 
of her life boldness and eccentricity, now being 
softened and restrained within proper limits by 
the respectful regard with which she looked 
upon Caesar, made her an enchanting compan- 
ion. CsBsar was, in fact, entirely intoxicated 
with the fascinations which she unconsciously 

Under other circumstances than these, a per- 
sonal attachment so strong, formed by a mili- 
tary commander while engaged in active serv- 
ice, might have been expected to interfere in 
some degree with the discharge of his duties ; 
but in this case, since it was for Cleopatra's 
sake and in her behalf that the operations which 
Csesar had undertaken were to be prosecuted, 
his love for her only stimulated the spirit and 
energy with which he engaged in them. 

The first measure to be adopted was, as 
Csesar plainly perceived, to concentrate and 
strengthen his position in the city, so that he 
might be able to defend himself there against 
Achillas until he should receive re-enforcements 
from abroad. For this purpose he selected a 
certain group of palaces and citadels which lay- 
together near the head of the long pier 07 cause- 

B.C. 47.] The Alexandrine War. 161 

Caesar's stores. Military engines. 

way which led to the Pharos, and, withdrawing 
his troops from all other parts of the city, estab- 
lished them there. The quarter which he thus 
occupied contained the great city arsenals and 
public granaries. Caesar brought together all 
the arms and munitions of war which he could 
find in other parts of the city, and also all the 
corn and other provisions which were contained 
either in the public depots or in private ware- 
houses, and stored the whole within his lines. 
He then inclosed the whole quarter with strong 
defenses. The avenues leading to it were bar- 
ricaded with walls of stone. Houses in the vi- 
cinity which might have afforded shelter to an 
enemy were demolished, and the materials used 
in constructing walls wherever they were need- 
ed, or in strengthening the barricades. Prodi- 
gious military engines, made to throw heavy 
stones, and beams of wood, and other ponderous 
missiles, were set up within his lines, and open- 
ings were made in the walls and other defenses 
of the citadel, wherever necessary, to facilitate 
the action of these machines. 

There was a strong fortress situated at the 

head of the pier or mole leading to the island of 

Pharos, vrhich was without Caesar's lines, and 

still in the hands of the Egyptian authorities. 




[B.C. 47 

View of Alexandria 

The Egyptians thus commanded the entrance 
to the mole. The island itself, also, with the 
fortress at the other end of the pier, was still in 
the possession of the Egyptian authorities, who 
seemed disposed to hold it for Achillas. The 
mole was very long, as the island was nearly a 
mile from the shore. There was quite a little 
town upon the island itself, besides the fortress 

View of Alexandria. 

or castle built there to defend the place. The 
garrison of this castle was strong, and the in- 
habitants of the town, too, constituted a some- 

B.C. 47.] The Alexandrine War. 163 

Necessity of taking possession of the mole. Egyptian fleet 

what formidable population, as they consisted 
of iisliermen, sailors, wreckers, and such other 
desperate characters as usually congregate about 
such a spot. Cleopatra and Csesar, from the 
windows of their palace within the city, looked 
out upon this island, with the tall light-house 
rising in the center of it and the castle at its 
base, and upon the long and narrow isthmus 
connecting it with the main land, and conclud- 
ed that it was very essential that they should 
get possession of the post, commanding, as it 
did, the entrance to the harbor. 

In the harbor, too, which, as will be seen from 
the engraving, was on the south side of the 
mole, and, consequently, on the side opposite to 
that from which Achillas was advancing toward 
the city, there were lying a large number of 
Egyptian vessels, some dismantled, and others 
manned and armed more or less effectively. 
These vessels had not yet come into Achillas's 
hands, but it would be certain that he would 
take possession of them as soon as he should 
gain admittance to those parts of the city which 
Caesar had abandoned. This it was extremely 
important to prevent ; for, if Achillas held this 
fleet, especially if he continued to command the 
island of Pharos, he would be perfect master of 

164 Cleopatra. [B.C.47. 

Ca&sar bums the shipping. The fort taken. 

all the approaches to the city on the side of the 
sea. He could then not only receive re-enforce- 
ments and supplies himself from that quarter, 
but he could also effectually cut off the Roman 
army from all possibility of receiving any. It 
became, therefore, as Csesar thought, imperi- 
ously necessary that he should protect himself 
from this danger. This he did by sending out 
an expedition to burn all the shipping in the 
harbor, and, at the same time, to take possession 
of a certain fort upon the island of Pharos which 
commanded the entrance to the port. This 
undertaking was abundantly successful. The 
troops burned the shipping, took the fort, ex- 
pelled the Egyptian soldiers from it, and put a 
Roman garrison into it instead, and then re- 
turned in safety within Caesar's lines. Cleopa- 
tra witnessed these exploits from her palace 
windows with feelings of the highest admira- 
tion for the energy and valor which her Roman 
protectors displayed. 

The burning of the Egyptian ships in this ac- 
tion, however fortunate for Cleopatra and Cae- 
sar, was attended with a catastrophe which has 
ever since been lamented by the whole civilized 
world. Some of the burning ships were driven 
by the wind to the shore, where they set fire to 

B.C. 47.] The Alexandrine War. 165 

Burning of Alexandria. Acliillas beheaded. 

the buildings which were contiguous to the 
water. The flames spread and produced an 
extensive conflagration, in the course of which 
the largest part of the great library was de- 
stroyed. This library was the only general col- 
lection of the ancient writings that ever had 
been made, and the loss of it was never repaired. 

The destruction of the Egyptian fleet result- 
ed also in the downfall and ruin of Achillas. 
From the time of Arsinoe's arrival in the camp 
there had been a constant rivalry and jealousy 
between himself and Ganymede, the eunuch 
who had accompanied Arsinoe in her flight. 
Two parties had been formed in the army, some 
declaring for Achillas and some for Ganymede. 
Arsinoe advocated Ganymede's interests, and 
when, at length, the fleet was burned, she 
charged Achillas with having been, by his neg- 
lect or incapacity, the cause of the loss. Achil- 
las was tried, condemned, and beheaded. From 
that time Ganymede assumed the administra- 
tion of Arsinoe's government as her minister of 
state and the commander-in-chief of her armies. 

About the time that these occurrences took 
place, the Egyptian army advanced into those 
parts of the city from which Caesar had with- 
drawn, producing those terrible scenes of panic 

166 Cleopatra. [B.C.47. 

Plans of Ganymede. His vigorous measures, 

and confusion which always attend a sudden 
and violent change of military possession within 
the precincts of a city. Ganymede brought up 
his troops on every side to the walls of Csesar's 
citadels and intrenchments, and hemmed him 
closely in. He cut off all avenues of approach 
to Caesar's lines by land, and commenced vigor- 
ous preparations for an assault. He construct- 
ed engines for battering down the walls. He 
opened shops and established forges in every 
part of the city for the manufacture of darts, 
spears, pikes, and all kinds of military machin- 
ery. He built towers supported upon huge 
wheels, w4th the design of filling them wdth 
armed men when finally ready to make his as- 
sault upon Ceesar's lines, and moving them up 
to the walls of the citadels and palaces, so as 
to give to his soldiers the advantage of a lofty 
elevation in making their attacks. He levied 
contributions on the rich citizens for the neces- 
sary funds, and provided himself with men by 
pressing all the artisans, laborers, and men ca- 
pable of bearing arms into his service. He sent 
messengers back into the interior of the coun- 
try, in every direction, summoning the people 
to arms, and calling for contributions of money 
and militarv stores. 

B.C. 47.] The Alexandrine War. 167 

Messengers of Ganymede. Their instructions. 

These messengers were instructed to urge 
upon the people that, unless Csesar and his army 
were at once expelled from Alexandria, there 
was imminent danger that the national inde- 
pendence of Egypt would be forever destroyed. 
The Romans, they were to say, had extended 
their conquests over almost all the rest of the 
world. They had sent one army into Egypt 
before, under the command of Mark Antony, 
under the pretense of restoring Ptolemy Auletes 
to the throne. Now another commander, with 
another force, had come, offering some other 
pretexts for interfering in their affairs. These 
Roman encroachments, the messengers were to 
say, would end in the complete subjugation of 
Egypt to a foreign power, unless the people of 
the country aroused themselves to meet the 
danger manfully, and to expel the intruders. 

As Csesar had possession of the island of 
Pharos and of the harbor, Ganymede could not 
cut him off from receiving such re-enforcements 
of men and arms as he might make arrange- 
ments for obtaining- beyond the sea ; nor could 
he curtail his supply of food, as the granaries 
and magazines within Caesar's quarter of the 
city contained almost inexhaustible stores of 
corn. There was one remaining point essential 

168 Cleopatra. [B.C. 47. 

Ganymede cuts off Caesar's supply of water. Panic of the soldiers. 

to the subsistence of an army besieged, and that 
was an abundant supply of water. The palaces 
and citadels which Caesar occupied were sup- 
plied with water by means of numerous sub- 
terranean aqueducts, which conveyed the wa- 
ter from the Nile to vast cisterns built under 
ground, whence it was raised by buckets and 
hydraulic engines for use. In reflecting upon 
this circumstance, Ganymede conceived the de- 
sign of secretly digging a canal, so as to turn 
the waters of the sea by means of it into these 
aqueducts. This plan he carried into effect. 
The consequence was, that the water in the 
cisterns was gradually changed. It became 
first brackish, then more and more salt and bit- 
ter, until, at length, it was wholly impossible 
to use it. For some time the army within 
could not understand these changes ; and when, 
at length, they discovered the cause, the soldiers 
were panic-stricken at the thought that they 
were now apparently wholly at the mercy of 
their enemies, since, without supplies of water, 
they must all immediately perish. They con- 
sidered it hopeless to attempt any longer to hold 
out, and urged Csesar to evacuate the city, 
embark on board his galleys, and proceed to sea. 
Instead of doing this, however, Csesar, order- 

B.C. 47.] The Alexandrine War. 169 

Caesar's wells. Arrival of the transports, 

ing all other operations to be suspended, em- 
ployed the whole laboring force of his command, 
under the direction of the captains of the sev- 
eral companies, in digging wells in every part 
of his quarter of the city. Fresh water, he said, 
was almost invariably found, at a moderate 
depth, upon sea-coasts, even upon ground lying 
in very close proximity with the sea. The dig- 
gings were successful. Fresh water, in great 
abundance, was found. Thus this danger was 
passed, and the men's fears effectually relieved. 
A short time after these transactions occur- 
red, there came into the harbor one day, from 
along the shore west of the city, a small sloop, 
bringing the intelligence that a squadron of 
transports had arrived upon the coast to the 
westward of Alexandria, and had anchored 
there, being unable to come up to the city on 
account of an easterly wind which prevailed at 
that season of the year. This squadron was 
one which had been sent across the Mediter- 
ranean with arras, ammunition, and military 
stores for Csesar, in answer to requisitions which 
he had made immediately after he had landed. 
The transports being thus wind-bound on the 
coast, and having nearly exhausted their sup- 
plies of water, were in distress ; and they ac- 

170 Cleopatra, [B.C. 47. 

The transports in distress. Lowness of the coast. 

cordingly sent forward the sloop, which was 
probably propelled by oars, to make known their 
situation to Caesar, and to ask for succor. Cse- 
sar immediately went, himself, on board of one 
of his galleys, and ordering the remainder of his 
little fleet to follow him, he set sail out of the 
harbor, and then turned to the westward, with 
a view of proceeding along the coast to the place 
where the transports were lying. 

All this was done secretly. The land is so 
low in the vicinity of Alexandria that boats or 
galleys are out of sight from it at a very short 
distance from the shore. In fact, travelers say 
that, in coming upon the coast, the illusion pro- 
duced by the spherical form of the surface of 
the water and the low and level character of the 
coast is such that one seems actually to descend 
from the sea to the land. Caesar might there- 
fore have easily kept his expedition a secret, 
had it not been that, in order to be provided 
with a supply of water for the transports imme- 
diately on reaching them, he stopped at a soli- 
tary part of the coast, at some distance from 
Alexandria, and sent a party a little way into 
the interior in search for water. This party 
were discovered by the country people, and were 
intercepted by a troop of horse and made pris- 

B.C. 47.] The Alexandrine War. 171 

A combat. Caesar successful. 

oners. From these prisoners the Egyptians 
learned that Caesar himself was on the coast 
with a small squadron of galleys. The tidings 
spread in all directions. The people flocked to- 
gether from every quarter. They hastily col- 
lected all the boats and vessels which could be 
obtained at the villages in that region and from 
the various branches of the Nile. In the mean 
time, Csesar had gone on to the anchorage 
ground of the squadron, and had taken the tran- 
sports in tow to bring them to the city ; for the 
galleys, being propelled by oars, were in a meas- 
ure independent of the wind. On his return, 
he found quite a formidable naval armament 
assembled to dispute the passage. 

A severe conflict ensued, but Caesar was vic- 
torious. The navy which the Egyptians had 
so suddenly got together was as suddenly de- 
stroyed. Some of the vessels were burned, oth- 
ers sunk, and others captured ; and Caesar re- 
turned in triumph to the port with his trans- 
ports and stores. He was welcomed with the 
acclamations of his soldiers, and, still more 
warmly, by the joy and gratitude of Cleopatra, 
who had been waiting during his absence in 
great anxiety and suspense to know the result 
of the expedition, aware as she was that her 

172 Cleopatra. [B.C. 47. 

Ganymede equips a fleet. A naval conflict. 

hero was exposing himself in it to the most im- 
minent personal danger. 

The arrival of these re-enforcements greatly 
improved Caesar's condition, and the circum- 
stance of their coming forced upon the mind of 
Ganymede a sense of the absolute necessity that 
he should gain possession of the harbor if he in- 
tended to keep Csesar in check. He according- 
ly determined to take immediate measures for 
forming a naval force. He sent along the coast, 
and ordered every ship and galley that could be 
found in all the ports to be sent immediately to 
Alexandria. He employed as many men as 
possible in and around the city in building more. 
He unroofed some of the most magnificent edi- 
fices to procure timber as a material for making 
benches and oars. When all was ready, he 
made a grand attack upon Csesar in the port, 
and a terrible contest ensued for the possession 
of the harbor, the mole, the island, and the cit- 
adels and fortresses commanding the entrances 
from the sea. Csesar well knew that this con- 
test would be a decisive one in respect to the 
final result of the war, and he accordingly went 
forth himself to take an active and personal part 
in the conflict. He felt doubtless, too, a strong 
emotion of pride and pleasure in exhibiting his 

B.C. 47.] The Alexandrine War. 173 

Csesar in danger. Another victory. 

prowess in, the sight of Cleopatra, who could 
watch the progress of the battle from the palace 
windows, fall of excitement at the dangers 
which he incm'red, and of admiration at the 
feats of strength and valor which he performed. 
During this battle the life of the great conquer- 
or was several times in the most imminent dan- 
ger. He wore a habit or mantle of the impe- 
rial purple, which made him a conspicuous mark 
for his enemies ; and, of course, wherever he 
went, in that place was the hottest of the fight. 
Once, in the midst of a scene of most dreadful 
confusion and din, he leaped from an overloaded 
boat into the water and swam for his life, hold- 
ing his cloak between his teeth and drawing it 
through the water after him, that it might not 
fall into the hands of his enemies. He carried, 
at the same time, as he swam, certain valuable 
papers which he wished to save, holding them 
above his head with one hand, while he pro- 
pelled himself through the water with the 

The result of this contest was another deci- 
sive victory for Csesar. Not only were the ships 
which the Egyptians had collected defeated and 
destroyed, but the mole, with the fortresses at 
each extremity of it, and the island, with the 

174 Cleopatra. [B.C. 47. 

The Egyptians discouraged. Secret messengers. 

light-house and the town of Pharos, all fell into 
Caesar's hands. 

The Egyptians now began to be discouraged. 
The army and the people, judging, as mankind 
always do, of the virtue of their military com- 
manders solely by the criterion of success, be- 
gan to be tired of the rule of Ganymede and 
Arsinoe. They sent secret messengers to Cae- 
sar avowing their discontent, and saying that, 
if he would liberate Ptolemy- — who, it will be 
recollected, had been all this time held as a sort 
of prisoner of state in Csesar's palaces — they 
thought that the people generally would receive 
him as their sovereign, and that then an ar- 
rangement might easily be made for an amica- 
ble adjustment of the whole controversy. Cse- 
sar was strongly inclined to accede to this pro- 

He accordingly called Ptolemy into his pres- 
ence, and, taking him kindly by the hand, in- 
formed him of the wishes of the people of Egypt, 
and gave him permission to go. Ptolemy, how- 
ever, begged not to be sent away. He profess- 
ed the strongest attachment to Caesar, and the 
utmost confidence in him, and he very much 
preferred, he said, to remain under his protec- 
tion. Caesar replied that, if those were his sen- 

B.C. 47.] The Alexandrine War. 175 

Dissimulation of Ptolemy. Arrival of Mithradatea. 

timents, the separation would not be a lasting 
one. '' If we part as friends," he said, " we 
shall soon meet again." By these and similar 
assurances he endeavored to encourage the 
young prince, and then sent him away. Ptol- 
emy was received by the Egyptians with great 
joy, and was immediately placed at the head of 
the government. Instead, however, of endeav- 
oring to promote a settlement of the quarrel 
with Csesar, he seemed to enter into it now him- 
self, personally, with the utmost ardor, and be- 
gan at once to make the most extensive prepa- 
rations both by sea and land for a vigorous pros- 
ecution of the war. What the result of these 
operations would have been can now not be 
known, for the general aspect of affairs was, 
soon after these transactions, totally changed 
by the occurrence of a new and very important 
event which suddenly intervened, and which 
turned the attention of all parties, both Egyp- 
tians and Romans, to the eastern quarter of 
the kingdom. The tidings arrived that a large 
army, under the command of a general named 
Mithradates, whom Csesar had dispatched into 
Asia for this purpose, had suddenly appeared at 
Pelusium. had captured that city, and were 
now ready to march to Alexandria. 

176 Cleopatra. [B.C. 47. 

Defeat of Ptolemy. Ten-or and confusion. 

The Egyptian army immediately broke up 
its encampments in the neighborhood of Alex- 
andria, and marched to the eastward to meet 
these new invaders. Csesar followed them with 
all the forces that he could safely take away 
from the city. He left the city in the night 
and unobserved, and moved across the country 
with such celerity that he joined Mithradates 
before the forces of Ptolemy had arrived. After 
various marches and maneuvers, the armies met, 
and a great battle was fought. The Egyptians 
were defeated. Ptolemy's camp was taken. 
As the Roman army burst in upon one side of 
it, the guards and attendants of Ptolemy fled 
upon the other, clambering over the ramparts 
in the utmost terror and confusion. The fore- 
most fell headlong into the ditch below, which 
was thus soon filled to the brim with the dead 
and the dying ; while those who came behind 
pressed on over the bridge thus formed, tramp- 
ling remorselessly, as they fled, on the bodies of 
their comrades, who lay writhing, struggling, 
and shrieking beneath their feet. Those who 
escaped reached the river. They crowded to- 
gether into a boat which lay at the bank and 
pushed off" from the shore. The boat was over- 
loaded, and it sank as soon as it left the land. 

B.C. 47.1 The Alexandrine War. 177 

Death of Ptolemy. Cleopatra queen. 

The Romans drew the bodies which floated to 
the shore up upon the bank again, and they 
found among them one, which, by the royal 
cuirass which was upon it, the customary badge 
and armor of the Egyptian kings, they knew to 
be the body of Ptolemy. 

The victory which Csesar obtained in this 
battle and the death of Ptolemy ended the war. 
Nothing now remained but for him to place 
himself at the head of the combined forces and 
march back to Alexandria. The Egyptian 
forces which had been left there made no resist- 
ance, and he entered the city in triumph. He 
took Arsinoe prisoner. He decreed that Cleo- 
patra should reign as queen, and that she should 
marry her youngest brother, the other Ptolemy 
— a boy at this time about eleven years of age. 
A marriage with one so young was, of course, 
a mere form. Cleopatra remained, as before, 
the companion of Csesar. 

Csesar had, in the mean time, incurred great 
censure at Rome, and throughout the w^hole 
Roman world, for having thus turned aside from 
his own proper duties as the Roman consul, and 
the commander-in-chief of the armies of the 
empire, to embroil himself in the quarrels of a 
remote and secluded kingdom, with which the 

178 Cleopatra. [B.C. 47 

General disapprobation of Caesar's course. 

interests of the Roman commonwealth were 
so little connected. His friends and the au- 
thorities at Rome were continually urging him 
to return. They were especially indignant at 
his protracted neglect of his own proper duties, 
from knowing that he was held in Egypt by a 
guilty attachment to the queen — thus not only 
violating his obligations to the state, but like- 
wise inflicting upon his wife Calpurnia, and his 
family at Rome, an intolerable wrong. But 
Ca3sar was so fascinated by Cleopatra's charms, 
and by the mysterious and unaccountable in- 
fluence which she exercised over him, that he 
paid no heed to any of these remonstrances. 
Even after the war was ended he remained 
some months in Egypt to enjoy his favorite's 
society. He would spend whole nights in her 
company, in feasting and revelry. He made a 
splendid royal progress with her through Egypt 
after the war was over, attended by a numer- 
ous train of Roman guards. He formed a plan 
for taking her to Rome, and marrying her there ; 
and he took measures for having the laws of the 
city altered so as to enable him to do so, though 
he was already married. 

All these things produced great discontent 
and disaffection among Csesar's friends ond 

B.C. 47.] The Alexandrine War. 179 

Cleopatra's son Caesarion. Public opinion of her conduct, 

tliroughout the Roman army. The Egyptians 
too, strongly censured the conduct of Cleopatra 
A son was born to her about this time, whonj 
the Alexandrians named, from his father, Caesa- 
rion. Cleopatra was regarded in the new re- 
lation of mother, which she now sustained, not 
with interest and sympathy, but with feelings 
of reproach and condemnation. 

Cleopatra was all this time growing more and 
more accomplished and more and more beauti- 
ful ; but her vivacity and spirit, which had been 
so charming while it was simple and childlike, 
now began to appear more forward and bold. 
It is the characteristic of pure and lawful love 
to soften and subdue the heart, and infuse a 
gentle and quiet spirit into all its action ; while 
that which breaks over the barriers that God 
and nature have marked out for it, tends to 
make woman masculine and bold, to indurate 
all her sensibilities, and to destroy that gentle- 
ness and timidity of demeanor which have so 
great an influence in heightening her charms. 
Cleopatra was beginning to experience these ef- 
fects. She was indifferent to the opinions of her 
subjects, and was only anxious to maintain as 
long as possible her guilty ascendency over 

180 Cleopatra. [B.C. 47. 

Cfflsar departs for Rome. He talies Arsinoe with him. 

CeBsar, however, finally determined to set out 
on his return to the capital. Leaving Cleopa- 
tra, accordingly, a sufficient force to secure the 
continuance of her power, lie embarked the re- 
mainder of his forces in his transports and gal- 
leys, and sailed away. He took the unhappy 
Arsinoe with him, intending to exhibit her as a 
trophy of his Egyptian victories on his arrival 
at Rome. 

B.C. 47.] Cleopatra a Queen. 181 

The Alexandrine wai* very short Its extent. 

Chapter VIII. 

Cleopatra a Queen. 

rflHE war by which Caesar remstated Cleo- 
-^ patra upon the throne was not one of very 
long duration. Csesar arrived in Egypt in pur- 
suit of Pompey about the 1st of August ; the 
war was ended and Cleopatra established in se- 
cure possession by the end of January ; so that 
the conflict, violent as it was while it continued, 
was very brief, the peaceful and commercial 
pursuits of the Alexandrians having been inter- 
rupted by it only for a few months. 

Nor did either the war itself, or the derange- 
ments consequent upon it, extend very far into 
the interior of the country. The city of Alex- 
andria itself and the neighboring coasts were 
the chief scenes of the contest until Mithrada- 
tes arrived at Pelusium. He, it is true, march- 
ed across the Delta, and the final battle was 
fought in the interior of the country. It was, 
however, after all, but a very small portion of 
the Egyptian territory that was directly affect- 
ed by the war. The great mass of the people. 

182 Cleopatra. [B.C. 4T. 

Revenues of Egypt. The city repaired. 

occupying the rich and fertile tracts which bor- 
dered the various branches of the Nile, and the 
long and verdant valley which extended so far 
into the heart of the continent, knew nothing 
of the conflict but by vague and distant rumors. 
The pursuits of the agricultural population 
went on, all the time, as steadily and prosper- 
ously as ever ; so that when the conflict was 
ended, and Cleopatra entered upon the quiet 
and peaceful possession of her power, she found 
that the resources of her empire were very little 

She availed herself, accordingly, of the reve- 
nues which poured in very abundantly upon 
her, to enter upon a career of the greatest lux- 
ury, magnificence, and splendor. The injuries 
which had been done to the palaces and other 
public edifices of Alexandria by the fire, and by 
the military operations of the siege, were re- 
paired. The bridges which had been broken 
down were rebuilt. The canals which had been 
obstructed were opened again. The sea-water 
was shut ofl" from the palace cisterns ; the rub- 
bish of demolished houses was removed ; the 
barricades were cleared from the streets; and 
the injuries which the palaces had suffered, ei- 
ther from the violence of military engines or the 

B.C. 47.] Cleopatra a Queen. 183 

The library rebuilt. A new collection of manuscripta. 

rough occupation of the Roman soldiery, were 
repaired. In a word, the city was speedily re- 
stored once more, so far as was possible, to its 
former order and beauty. The five hundred 
thousand manuscripts of the Alexandrian libra- 
ry, which had been burned, could not, indeed, 
be restored ; but, in all other respects, the city 
soon resumed in appearance all its former splen- 
dor. Even in respect to the library, Cleopatra 
made an effort to retrieve the loss. She repair- 
ed the ruined buildings, and afterward, in the 
course of her life, she brought together, it was 
said, in a manner hereafter to be described, one 
or two hundred thousand rolls of manuscripts, 
as the commencement of a new collection. The 
new library, however, never acquired the fame 
and distinction that had pertained to the old. 

The former sovereigns of Egypt, Cleopatra's 
ancestors, had generally, as has already been 
shown, devoted the immense revenues which 
they extorted from the agriculturalists of the 
valley of the Nile to purposes of ambition. 
Cleopatra seemed now disposed to expend them 
in luxury and pleasure. They, the Ptolemies, 
had employed their resources in erecting vast 
structures, or founding magnificent institutions 
at Alexandria, to add to the glory of the city, 

184 Cleopatra. [B.C. 45. 

Luxury and splendor. Deterioration of Cleopatra's character. 

and to widen and extend their own fame. Cle- 
opatra, on the other hand, as was, perhaps, nat- 
urally to be expected of a young, beautiful, and 
impulsive woman, suddenly raised to so conspic- 
uous a position, and to the possession of such 
unbounded wealth and power, expended her 
royal revenues in plans of personal display, and 
in scenes of festivity, gayety, and enjoyment. 
She adorned her palaces, built magnificent 
barges for pleasure excursions on the Nile, and 
expended enormous sums for dress, for equipa- 
ges, and for sumptuous entertainments. In 
fact, so lavish were her expenditures for these 
and similar purposes during the early years of 
her reign, that she is considered as having car- 
ried the extravagance of sensual luxury and 
personal display and splendor beyond the limits 
that had ever before or have ever since been 

Whatever of simplicity of character, and of 
gentleness and kindness of spirit she might 
have possessed in her earlier years, of course 
gradually disappeared under the influences of 
such a course of life as she now was leading. 
She was beautiful and fascinating still, but she 
began to grow selfish, heartless, and designing. 
Her little brother — he was but eleven years of 

B.C. 45.] Cleopatra a Queen. 185 

The young Ptolemy. Cleopatra assassinates him. 

age, it will be recollected, when Caesar arranged 
the njarriage between them — was an object of 
jealousy to her. He was now, of course, too 
young to take any actual share in the exercise 
of the royal power, or to interfere at all in his 
sister's plans or pleasures. But then he was 
growing older. In a few years he would be 
fifteen — which was the period of life fixed upon 
by Csesar's arrangements, and, in fact, by the 
laws and usages of the Egyptian kingdom — 
when he was to come into possession of power 
as king, and as the husband of Cleopatra. Cle- 
opatra was extremely unwilling that the change 
in her relations to him and to the government, 
which this period was to bring, should take 
place. Accordingly, just before the time ar- 
rived, she caused him to be poisoned. His 
death released her, as she had intended, from 
all restraints, and thereafter she continued 
to reign alone. During the remainder of her 
life, so far as the enjoyment of wealth and 
power, and of all other elements of external 
prosperity could go, Cleopatra's career was one 
of uninterrupted success. She had no consci- 
entious scruples to interfere with the most full 
and unrestrained indulgence of every propensity 
of her heart, and the means of indulgence were 

I8b Cleopatra. [B.C. 45. 

Career of Csesar. His rapid course of conqtest. 

before her in the most unlimited profusion. The 
only bar to her happiness was the impossibility 
of satisfying the impulses and passions of the 
human soul, when they once break over the 
bounds which the laws both of God and of na- 
ture ordain for restraining them. 

In the mean time, while Cleopatra was spend- 
ing the early years of her reign in all this lux- 
ury and splendor, Caesar was pursuing his ca- 
reer, as the conqueror of the world, in the most 
successful manner. On the death of Pompey, 
he would naturally have succeeded at once to 
the enjoyment of the supreme power ; but his 
delay in Egypt, and the extent to which it was 
known that he was entangled with Cleopatra, 
encouraged and strengthened his enemies in 
various parts of the world. In fact, a revolt 
which broke out in Asia Minor, and which it 
was absolutely necessary that he should proceed 
at once to quell, was the immediate cause of 
his leaving Egypt at last. Other plans for 
making head against Caesar's power v/ere formed 
in Spain, in Africa, and in Italy. His military 
skill and energy, however, were so great, and 
the ascendency which he exercised over the 
minds of men by his personal presence was so 
unbounded, and so astonishing, moreover, was 

B.C. 45.] Cleopatra a Queen. 187 

Cleopatra determines to go to Rome. Feelings of the Romans. 

the celerity with which he moved from conti- 
nent to continent, and from kingdom to king- 
dom, that in a very short period from the time 
of his leaving Egypt, he had conducted most 
brilliant and successful campaigns in all the 
three quarters of the world then known, had put 
down effectually all opposition to his power, and 
then had returned to Rome the acknowledged 
master of the world. Cleopatra, who had, of 
course, watched his career during all this time 
with great pride and pleasure, concluded, at 
last, to go to Rome and make a visit to him 

The people of Rome w^ere, however, not pre- 
pared to receive her very cordially. It was an 
age in which vice of every kind was regarded 
with great indulgence, but the moral instincts 
of mankind were too strong to be wholly blind- 
ed to the true character of so conspicuous an 
example of wickedness as this. Arsinoe was 
at Rome, too, during this period of Caesar's life. 
He had brought her there, it will be recollected, 
on his return from Egypt, as a prisoner, and as 
a trophy of his victory. His design was, in fact, 
to reserve her as a captive to grace his triumph. 

A triumph, according to the usages of the an- 
cient Romans, was a grand celebration decreed 

188 Cleopatra. [B.C. 45. 

Csesai-'s four triumphs. Nature of triumphal processions. 

by the senate to great military commanders 
of the highest rank, when they returned from 
distant campaigns in which they had made 
great conquests or gained extraordinary victo- 
ries. Cassar concentrated all his triumphs into 
one. They were celebrated on his return to 
Rome for the last time, after having completed 
the conquest of the world. The processions of 
this triumph occupied four days. In fact, there 
were four triumphs, one on each day for the four 
days. The wars and conquests which these 
ovations were intended to celebrate were those 
of Gaul, of Egypt, of Asia, and of Africa ; and 
the processions on the several days consisted of 
endless trains of prisoners, trophies, arms, ban- 
ners, pictures, images, convoys of wagons load- 
ed with plunder, captive princes and princesses, 
animals, wild and tame, and every thing else 
which the conqueror had been able to bring 
home wdth him from his campaigns, to excite 
the curiosity or the admiration of the people of 
the city, and illustrate the magnitude of his ex- 
ploits. Of course, the Roman generals, when 
engaged in distant foreign wars, were ambitious 
of bringing back as many distinguished captives 
and as much public plunder as they were able 
to obtain, in order to add to the variety and 

B.C. 45.] Cleopatra a Queen. 191 

Arsinoe. Sympathy of the Roman people. 

splendor of the triamphal procession by which 
their victories were to be honored on their re- 
turn. It was with this view that Csesar brought 
Arsinoe from Egypt ; and he had retained her 
as his captive at Rome until his conquests were 
completed and the time for his triumph ar- 
rived. She, of course, formed a part of the 
triumphal train on the Egyptian day. She 
walked immediately before the chariot in which 
Csesar rode. She was in chains, like any other 
captive, though her chains, in honor of her lofty 
rank, were made of gold. 

The effect, however, upon the Roman popu- 
lation of seeing the unhappy princess, over- 
whelmed as she was with sorrow and chagrin, 
as she moved slowly along in the train, among 
the other emblems and trophies of violence and 
plunder, proved to be by no means favorable to 
Caesar. The populace were inclined to pity her, 
and to sympathize with her in her sufferings. 
The sight of her distress recalled, too, to their 
minds the dereliction from duty of which Csesar 
had been guilty of in his yielding to the entice- 
ments of Cleopatra, and remaining so long in 
Egypt to the neglect of his proper duties as a 
Roman minister of state. In a word, the tide 
of admiration for Caesar's military exploits which 

192 Cleopatra. [B.C. 45. 

Caesar overacts his part. Feasts and festivals. 

had been setting so strongly in his favor, seem- 
ed incHned to tarn, and the city was filled with 
murmurs against him even in the midst of his 

In fact, the pride and vainglory which led 
CsEsar to make his triumphs more splendid and 
imposing than any former conqueror had ever 
enjoyed, caused him to overact his part so as to 
produce effects the reverse of his intentions 
The case of Arsinoe was one example of this 
Instead of impressing the people with a sense oi 
the greatness of his exploits in Egypt, in depos- 
ing one queen and bringing her captive to Rome, 
in order that he might place another upon the 
throne in her stead, it only reproduced anev/ the 
censures and criminations which he had deserv- 
ed by his actions there, but which, had it not 
been for the pitiable spectacle of Arsinoe in the 
train, might have been forgotten. 

There were other examples of a similar char- 
acter. There were the feasts, for instance. 
From the plunder which Caesar had obtained 
in his various campaigns, he expended the most 
enormous sums in making feasts and spectacles 
for the populace at the time of his triumph. A 
large portion of the populace was pleased, it is 
true, with the boundless indulgences thus offer- 

B.C. 45.] Cleopatra a Queen. 193 

Riot and debauchery. Public combats. 

ed to them ; but the better part of the Roman 
people were indignant at the waste and extrav- 
agance which were every where displayed. For 
many days the whole city of Rome presented to 
the view nothing but one wide-spread scene of 
riot and debauchery. The people, instead of 
being pleased with this abundance, said that 
Cs&sar must have practiced the most extreme 
and lawless extortion to have obtained the vast 
amount of money necessary to enable him to 
supply such unbounded and reckless waste. 

There was another way, too, by which Caesar 
turned public opinion strongly against himself, 
by the very means which he adopted for creat- 
ing a sentiment in his favor. The Romans, 
among the other barbarous amusements which 
were practiced in the city, were specially fond 
of combats. These combats were of various 
kinds. They were fought sometimes between 
ferocious beasts of the same or of different spe- 
cies, as dogs against each other, or against bulls, 
lions, or tigers. Any animals, in fact, were em- 
ployed for this purpose, that could be teased or 
goaded into anger and ferocity in a fight. 
Sometimes men were employed in these com- 
bats — captive soldiers, that had been taken in 
war, and brought to Rome to fight in the am- 

194 Cleopatra. [B.C.45, 

The artificial lake. Combat upon it. 

phitheaters there as gladiators. These men 
were compelled to contend sometimes with wild 
beasts, and sometimes with one another. Cae- 
sar, knowing how highly the Roman assemblies 
enjoyed such scenes, determined to afford them 
the indulgence on a most magnificent scale, 
supposing, of course, that the greater and the 
more dreadful the fight, the higher would be the 
pleasure which the spectators would enjoy in 
witnessing it. Accordingly, in making prepa- 
rations for the festivities attending his triumph, 
he caused a large artificial lake to be formed 
at a convenient place in the vicinity of Rome, 
where it could be surrounded by the populace 
of the city, and there he made arrangements 
for a naval battle. A great number of galleys 
were introduced into the lake. They were of 
the usual size employed in war. These galleys 
were manned with numerous soldiers. Tyrian 
captives were put upon one side, and Egyptian 
upon the other ; and when all was ready, the 
two squadrons were ordered to approach and 
fight a real naval battle for the amusement of 
the enormous throngs of spectators that were 
assembled around. As the nations from which 
the combatants in this conflict were respective- 
ly taken were hostile to each other, and as the 

B.C. 45.] Cleopatra a Queen. 19t 

Land combats. The people shocked. 

men fought, of course, for their lives, the en- 
gagement was attended with the usual horrors 
of a desperate naval encounter. Hundreds were 
slain. The dead bodies of the combatants fell 
from the galleys into the lake, and the waters 
of it were dyed with their blood. 

There were land combats, too, on the same 
grand scale. In one of them five hundred foot 
soldiers, twenty elephants, and a troop of thirty 
horse were engaged on each side. This com- 
bat, therefore, was an action greater, in respect 
to the number of the combatants, than the fa- 
mous battle of Lexington, which marked the 
commencement of the American war ; and in 
respect to the slaughter which took place, it was 
very probably ten times greater. The horror 
of these scenes proved to be too much even for 
the populace, fierce and merciless as it was, 
which they were intended to amuse. Caesar, 
in his eagerness to outdo all former exhibitions 
and shows, went beyond the limits within which 
the seeing of men butchered in bloody combats 
and dying in agony and despair would serve for 
a pleasure and a pastime. The people were 
shocked ; and condemnations of Cassar's cruelty 
were added to the other suppressed reproaches 
and criminations which every where arose. 

196 Cleopatra. [B.C. 4o 

Cleopatra's visit. Csesar's plans for making himself king. 

Cleopatra, during her visit to Rome, lived 
openly with Csesar at his residence, and this 
excited very general displeasure. In fact, while 
the people pitied Arsinoe, Cleopatra, notwith- 
standing her beauty and her thousand personal 
accomplishments and charms, was an object of 
general displeasure, so far as public attention 
was turned toward her at all. The public mind 
w^as, however, much engrossed by the great po- 
litical movements made by Caesar and the ends 
toward which lie seemed to bf3 aiming. Men 
accused him of designing to be made a king. 
Parties were formed for and against him ; and 
though men did not dare openly to utter their 
sentiments, their passions became the more vio- 
lent in proportion to the external force by which 
they were suppressed. Mark Antony was at 
Rome at this time. He warmly espoused Cae- 
sar's cause, and encouraged his design of mak- 
ing himself king. He once, in fact, offered to 
place a royal diadem upon Caesar's head at 
some public celebration ; but the marks of pub- 
lie disapprobation which the act elicited caused 
him to desist. 

At length, however, the time arrived when 
Caesar determined to cause himself to be pro- 
claimed king. He took advantage of a certain 

B.C. 44.] Cleopatra a Queen. 197 

Conspiracy against Cassar. He is assassinated. 

remarkable conjuncture of public affairs, which 
can not here be particularly described, but which 
seemed to him specially to favor his designs, 
and arrangements were made for having him 
invested with the regal power by the senate. 
The murmurs and the discontent of the people 
at the indications that the time for the realiza- 
tion of their fears was drawing nigh, became 
more and more audible, and at length a con- 
spiracy was formed to put an end to the danger 
by destroying the ambitious aspirant's life. 
Two stern and determined men, Brutus and 
Cassius, were the leaders of this conspiracy. 
They matured their plans, organized their band 
of associates, provided themselves secretly with 
arms, and when the senate convened, on the 
day in which the decisive vote was to have been 
passed, Csesar himself presiding, they came up 
boldly around him in his presidential chair, and 
murdered him with their daggers. 

Antony, from whom the plans of the conspir- 
ators had been kept profoundly secret, stood by, 
looking on stupefied and confounded while the 
deed was done, but utterly unable to render his 
friend any protection. 

Cleopatra immediately fled from the city and 
returned to Egypt. 

198 Cleopatra. [B.C. 44. 

Arsinoe released. Calpurnia mourns her husband's death. 

Arsinoe had gone away before. Csesar, ei- 
ther taking pity on her misfortunes, or impel- 
led, perhaps, by the force of public sentiment, 
which seemed inclined to take part with her 
against him, set her at liberty immediately after 
the ceremonies of his triumph were over. He 
would not, however, allow her to return into 
Egypt, for fear, probably, that she might in 
some way or other be the means of disturbing 
the government of Cleopatra. She proceeded, 
accordingly, into Syria, no longer as a captive, 
but still as an exile from her native land. We 
shall hereafter learn what became of her there, 

Calpurnia mourned the death of her husband 
with sincere and unaffected grief. She bore the 
wrongs which she suffered as a wife with a very 
patient and unrepining spirit, and loved her hus- 
band with the most devoted attachment to the 
end. Nothing can be more affecting than the 
proofs of her tender and anxious regard on the 
night immediately preceding the assassination. 
There were certain slight and obscure indica- 
tions of danger which her watchful devotion to 
her husband led her to observe, though they 
eluded the notice of all Csesar's other friends, 
and they filled her with apprehension and anx- 
iety ; and when at length the bloody body was 

B.C. 44] Cleopatra a Queen. 199 

Calpurnia looks to Mark Antony as her protector. 

brought home to her from the senate-house, she 
was overwhelmed with grief and despair. 

She had no children. She accordingly look- 
ed upon Mark Antony as her nearest friend and 
protector, and in the confusion and terror which 
prevailed the next day in the city, she hastily 
packed together the money and other valuables 
contained in the house, and all her husband's 
books and papers, and sent them to Antony for 
safe keeping. 

200 Cleopatra. [B.C. 44 

Consternation at Rome. Ca5sar's will 

Chapter IX. 

The Battle of Philippl 

TT^THEN the tidings of the assassination of 
' ^ Csesar were first announced to the people 
of Rome, all ranks and classes of men were 
struck with amazement and consternation. No 
one knew what to say or do. A very large and 
influential portion of the community had been 
Caesar's friends. It was equally certain that 
there was a very powerful interest opposed to 
him. No one could foresee vv'-hich of these two 
parties would now carry the day, and, of course, 
for a time, ail was uncertainty and indecision. 
Mark Antony came forward at once, and as- 
sumed the position of Caesar's representative 
and the leader of the party on that side. A 
will was found among Caesar's effects, and when 
the will was opened it appeared that large sums 
of money were left to the Roman people, and 
other large amounts to a nephew of the deceased, 
named Octavius, who will be more particularly 
spoken of hereafter. Antony was named in the 
will as the executor of it. This and other cir- 

B.C. 44.] The Battle op Philippi. 201 

Brutus and Cassius. Parties formed. 

cum stances seemed to authorize him to come 
forwapd as the head and the leader of the Cae- 
sar party. Brutus and Cassius, who remained 
openly in the city after their desperate deed had 
been performed, were the acknowledged leaders 
of the other party ; while the mass of the people 
were at first so astounded at the magnitude 
and suddenness of the revolution which the open 
and public assassination of a Roman emperor 
by a Roman senate denoted, that they knew not 
what to say or do. In fact, the killing of Julius 
Caesar, considering the exalted position which 
he occupied, the rank and station of the men 
who perpetrated the deed, and the very extra- 
ordinary publicity of the scene in which the act 
was performed, was, doubtless, the most con- 
spicuous and most appalling case of assassina- 
tion that has ever occurred. The whole popu- 
lation of Rome seemed for some days to be 
amazed and stupefied by the tidings. At length, 
however, parties began to be more distinctly 
formed. The lines of demarkation between 
them were gradually drawn, and men began to 
arrange themselves more and more unequivo- 
cally on the opposite sides. 

For a short time the supremacy of Antony 
over the Csesar party was readily acquiesced in 

202 Cleopatra. [B.C. 44. 

Octavius and Lepidus. Character of Octavius. 

and allowed. At length, however, and before 
his arrangements were finally matured, he found 
that he had two formidable competitors upon his 
own side. These were Octavius and Lepidus. 
Octavius, who was the nephew of Caesar, al- 
ready alluded to, was a very accomplished and 
elegant young man, now about nineteen years 
of age. He was the son of Julius Caesar's niece.* 
He had always been a great favorite with his 
uncle. Every possible attention had been paid 
to his education, and he had been advanced by 
Csesar, already, to positions of high importance 
in public life. Caesar, in fact, adopted him as 
his son, and made him his heir. At the time 
of Caesar's death he was at Apollonia, a city of 
Illyricum, north of Greece. The troops under 
his command there offered to march at once 
with him, if he wished it, to Rome, and avenge 
his uncle's death. Octavius, after some hesita- 
tion, concluded that it would be most prudent 
for him to proceed thither first himself, alone, 
as a private person, and demand his rights as 

* This Octavius, on his subsequent elevation to imperial 
powder, received the name of Augustus Csesar, and it is by 
this name that he is generally known in history. He vv^as, 
hov^^ever, called Octavius at the commencement of his career, 
and, to avoid confusion, we shall continue to designate him by 
this name to the end of our narrative. 

B.C. 44.] The Battle of Philippi. 203 

Octaviua proceeds to Rome. He claims his rights as heir. 

his uncle's heir, according to the provisions of 
the will. He accordingly did so. He found, 
on his arrival, that the will, the property, the 
books and parchments, and the substantial 
power of the government, were all in Antony's 
hands. Antony, instead of putting Octavius 
into possession of his property and rights, found 
various pretexts for evasion and delay. Octa- 
vius was too young yet, he said, to assumie such 
weighty responsibilities. He w^as himself also 
too much pressed with the urgency of public af- 
fairs to attend to the business of the will. With 
these and similar excuses as his justification, 
Antony seemed inclined to pay no regard what- 
ever to Octavius's claims. 

Octavius, young as he was, possessed a char- 
acter that was marked with great intelligence, 
spirit, and resolution. He soon made many 
powerful friends in the city of Rome and among 
the Roman senate. It became a serious ques- 
tion whether he or Antony would gain the great- 
est ascendency in the party of Caesar's friends. 
The contest for this ascendency was, in fact, 
protracted for two or three years, and led to a 
vast complication of intrigues, and maneuvers, 
and civil wars, which can not, however, be here 
particularly detailed. 


Cleopatra. [B.C. 44 I 

Lepidus takes command of the army. The triumvirata 

The other competitor which Antony had to 
contend with was a distinguished Roman gen- 
eral named Lepidus. Lepidus was an officer 
of the army, in very high command at the time 
of Caesar's death. He was present in the senate 
chamber on the day of the assassination. He 
stole secretly away when he saw that the deed 
was done, and repaired to the camp of the army 
without the city and immediately assumed the 
command of the forces. This gave him great 
power, and in the course of the contests which 
subsequently ensued between Antony and Oc- 
tavius, he took an active part, and held in some 
measure the balance between them. At length 
the contest was finally closed by a coalition of 
the three rivals. Finding that they could not 
either of them gain a decided victory over the 
others, they combined together, and formed the 
celebrated triumvirate, which continued after- 
ward for some time to wield the supreme com- 
mand in the Roman world. In forming this 
league of reconciliation, the three rivals held 
their conference on an island situated in one of 
the branches of tlie. Po, in the north of Italy. 
They manifested extreme jealousy and suspicion 
of each other in coming to this interview. Two 
bridges were built leading to the isla.nd, one 

B.C. 43.] The Battle of Philippi. 205 

Conference between Octavius, Lepidus, and Antony. 

from each bank of the stream. The army of 
Antony was drawn up upon one side of the river, 
and that of Octavius upon the other. Lepidus 
went first to the island by one of the bridges. 
After examining the ground carefully, to make 
himself sure that it contained no ambuscade, 
he made a signal to the other generals, who then 
came over, each advancing by his own bridge, 
and accompanied by three hundred guards, who 
remained upon the bridge to secure a retreat 
for their master in case of treachery. The con- 
ference lasted three days, at the expiration of 
which time the articles were all agreed upon 
and signed. 

This league being formed, the three confed- 
erates turned their united force against the par- 
ty of the conspirators. Of this party Brutus 
and Cassius were still at the head. 

The scene of the contests between Octavius, 
Antony, and Lepidus had been chiefly Italy and 
the other central countries of Europe. Brutus 
and Cassius, on the other hand, had gone across 
the Adriatic Sea into the East immediately 
after Caesar's assassination. They were now in 
Asia Minor, and were employed in concentrat- 
ing their forces, forming alliances with the va- 
lious Eastern powers, raising troops, bringing 

206 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Embassage to Cleopatra. Her decision. 

over to their side the Roman legions which were 
stationed in that quarter of the world, seizing 
magazines, and exacting contributions from all 
who could be induced to favor their cause. 
Among other embassages which they sent, one 
went to Egypt to demand aid from Cleopatra. 
Cleopatra, however, was resolved to join the 
other side in the contest. It was natural that 
she should feel grateful to Caesar for his efforts 
and sacrifices in her behalf, and that she should 
be inclined to favor the cause of his friends. 
Accordingly, instead of sending troops to aid 
Brutus and Cassius, as they had desired her to 
do, she immediately fitted out an expedition to 
proceed to the coast of Asia, with a view of ren- 
dering all the aid in her power to Antony's 

Cassius, on his part, finding that Cleopatra 
was determined on joining his enemies, imme- 
diately resolved on proceeding at once to Egypt 
and taking possession of the country. He also 
stationed a military force at Tasnarus, the south- 
ern promontory of Greece, to watch for and in- 
tercept the fleet of Cleopatra as soon as it should 
appear on the European shores. All these 
plans, however — both those which Cleopatra 
formed against Cassius, and those which Cas- 

B.C. 41.] The Battle of Philippi. 207 

Cassius abandons Ms designs. Approach of the triumvirs. 

sius formed against her — failed of accomplish- 
ment. Cleopatra's fleet encountered a terrible 
storm, which dispersed and destroyed it. A 
small remnant was driven upon the coast of 
Africa, but nothing could be saved which could 
be made available for the purpose intended A.s 
for Cassius's intended expedition to Egypx^:, it 
was not carried into effect. The dangers which 
began now to threaten him from the direction 
of Italy and Rome were so imminent, that, at 
Brutus's urgent request, he gave up the Egyp- 
tian plan, and the two generals concentrated 
their forces to meet the armies of the triumvi- 
rate which were now rapidly advancing to at- 
tack them. They passed for this purpose across 
the Hellespont from Sestos to Abydos, and en- 
tered Thrace.* 

After various marches and countermarches, 
and a long succession of those maneuvers by 
which two powerful armies, approaching a con- 
test, endeavor each to gain some position of ad- 
vantage against the other, the various bodies of 
troops belonging, respectively, to the two pow- 
ers, came into the vicinity of each other near 
Philippi. Brutus and Cassius arrived here first. 
There was a plain in the neighborhood of the 

* See map, at the frontispiece. 

208 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. | 

The armies meet at Philippi. Sickness of Octavius. 

city, with a rising ground in a certain portion 
of it. Brutus took possession of this elevation, 
and intrenched himself there. Cassius posted 
his forces about three miles distant, near the 
sea. There was a line of intrenchments be- 
tween the two camps, which formed a chain of 
communication by which the positions of the 
two commanders were connected. The armies 
were thus very advantageously posted. They 
had the River Strymon and a marsh on the left 
of the ground that they occupied, while the 
plain was before them, and the sea behind. 
Here they awaited the arrival of their foes. 

Antony, who was at this time at Amphipolis, 
a city not far distant from Phihppi, learning 
that Brutus and Cassius had taken their posi- 
tions in anticipation of an attack, advanced im- 
mediately and encamped upon the plain. Oc- 
tavius was detained by sickness at the city of 
Dyrrachium, not very far distant. Antony 
waited for him. It was ten days before he 
came. At length he arrived, though in coming 
he had to be borne upon a litter, being still too 
sick to travel in any other way. Antony ap- 
proached, and established his camp opposite to 
that of Cassius, near the sea, while Octavi^is 
took post opposite to Brutus. The four armies 

B.C. 41.] The Battle of Philippi. 209 

Difference of opinion between Brutus and Cassius. Council of war. 

then paused, contemplating the probable results 
of the engagement that was about to ensue. 

The forces on the two sides were nearly 
equal ; but on the Republican side, that is, on 
the part of Brutus and Cassius, there was great 
inconvenience and suffering for want of a suffi- 
cient supply of provisions and stores. There 
was some difference of opinion between Brutus 
and Cassius in respect to what it was best for 
them to do. Brutus was inclined to give the 
enemy battle. Cassius was reluctant to do so, 
since, under the circumstances in which they 
were placed, he considered it unwise to hazard, 
as they necessarily must do, the whole success 
of their cause to the chances of a single battle. 
A council of war was convened, and the various 
officers were asked to give their opinions. In 
this conference, one of the officers having rec- 
ommended to postpone the conflict to the next 
winter, Brutus asked him what advantage he 
hoped to attain by such delay. " If I gain noth- 
ing else," replied the officer, '' I shall live so 
much the longer." This answer touched Cas- 
sius's pride and military sense of honor. Rath- 
er than concur in a counsel which was thus, on 
the part of one of its advocates at least, dictated 
by what he considered an inglorious love of life, 

210 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Decision of the cotincil. Brutus greatly elated. 

he preferred to retract his opinion. It was 
agreed by the council that the army should 
maintain its ground and give the enemy battle. 
The officers then repaired to their respective 

Brutus was greatly pleased at this decision. 
To fight the battle had been his original desire, 
and as his counsels had prevailed, he was, of 
course, gratified with the prospect for the mor- 
row. He arranged a sumptuous entertainment 
in his tent, and invited, all the officers of his di- 
vision of the army to sup with him. The party 
spent the night in convivial pleasures, and in 
mutual congratulations at the prospect of the 
victory which, as they believed, awaited them 
on the morrow. Brutus entertained his guests 
with brilliant conversation all the evening, and 
inspired them with his own confident anticipa- 
tions of success in the conflict which was to 

Cassius, on the other hand, in his camp by 
the sea, was silent and desponding. He supped 
privately with a few intimate friends. On ris- 
ing from the table, he took one of his otficers 
aside, and, pressing his hand, said to him that 
he felt great misgivings in respect to the result 
of the contest. "It is against my judgment," 

B.C. 41.] The Battle of Philippi. 211 

Despondency of Cassius. Preparations for battle. 

said he, '' that we thus hazard the liberty of 
Rome on the event of one battle, fought under 
such circumstances as these. Whatever is the 
result, I wish you to bear me witness hereafter 
that I was forced into this measure by circum- 
stances that I could not control. I suppose, 
however, that I ought to take courage, notwith- 
standing the reasons that I have for these 
gloomy forebodings. Let us, therefore, hope for 
the best ; and come and sup with me again to- 
morrow night. To-morrow is my birth-day." 

The next morning, the scarlet mantle — the 
customary signal displayed in Roman camps on 
the morning of a day of battle — was seen at the 
tops of the tents of the two commanding gen- 
erals, waving there in the air Hke a banner. 
While the troops, in obedience to this signal, 
were preparing themselves for the conflict, the 
two generals went to meet each other at a point 
midway between their two encampments, for a 
final consultation and agreement in respect to 
the arrangements of the day. W^hen this busi- 
ness was concluded, and they were about to 
separate, in order to proceed each to his own 
sphere of duty, Cassius asked Brutus what he 
intended to do in case the day should go against 
them. "We hope for the best," said he, '' and 

212 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Resolution of Brutus to die. Similar resolve of Cassius, 

pray that the gods may grant us the victory in 
this most momentous crisis. But we must re- 
member that it is the greatest and the most 
momentous of human affairs that are always 
the most uncertain, and we can not foresee what 
is to-day to be the result of the battle. If it 
goes against us, what do you intend to do ? Do 
you intend to escape, or to die ?" 

" When I was a young man," said Brutus, 
in reply, " and looked at this subject only as a 
question of theory, I thought it wrong for a man 
ever to take Ins own life. However great the 
evils that threatened him, and however despe- 
rate his condition, I considered it his duty to 
live, and to wait patiently for better times. But 
now, placed in the position in which I am, I see 
the subject in a different light. If we do not 
gain the battle this day, I shall consider all hope 
and possibility of saving our country forever 
gone, and I shall not leave the field of battle 

Cassius, in his despondency, had made the 
same resolution for himself before, and he was 
rejoiced to hear Brutus utter these sentiments. 
He grasped his colleague's hand with a coun- 
tenance expressive of the greatest animation 
and pleasure, and bade him farewell, saying, 

B.C. 41.] The Battle of Philippi. 2J3 

Omens. Their influence upon Cassius. 

" We will go out boldly to face the enemy. For 
We are certain either that we shall conquer them, 
or that we shall have nothing to fear from their 
victory over us." 

Cassius's dejection, and the tendency of his 
mind to take a despairing view of the prospects 
of the cause in which he was engaged, were 
owing, in some measure, to certain unfavorable 
omens which he had observed. These omens, 
though really frivolous and wholly unworthy of 
attention, seem to have had great influence upon 
him, notwithstanding his general intelligence, 
and the remarkable strength and energy of his 
character. They were as follows : 

In offering certain sacrifices, he was to wear, 
according to the usage prescribed on such oc- 
casions, a garland of flowers, and it happened 
that the officer who brought the garland, by 
mistake or accident, presented it wrong side 
before. Again, in some procession which was 
formed, and in which a certain image of gold, 
made in honor of him, was borne, the bearer of 
it stumbled and fell, and the image was thrown 
upon the ground. This was a very dark pre- 
sage of impending calamity. Then a great 
number of vultures and other birds of prey were 
seen, for a number of days before the battle, 

214 Cleopatra. [B.C.41. 

The swarms of bees. Warnings received by Brutus. 

hovering over the Roman army ; and several 
swarms of bees were found within the precincts 
of the camp. So alarming was this last indi- 
cation, that the officers altered the line of the 
intrenchments so as to shut out the ill-omened 
spot from the camp. These and other such 
things had great influence upon the mind of 
Cassius, in convincing him that some great dis- 
aster was impending over him. 

Nor was Brutus himself without warnings of 
this character, though they seem to have had 
less power to produce any serious impression 
upon his mind than in the case of Cassius. The 
most extraordinary warning which Brutus re- 
ceived, according to the story of his anci&nt his- 
torians, was by a supernatural apparition which 
he saw, some time before, while he was in Asia 
Minor. He was encamped near the city of Sar- 
dis at that time. He was always accustomed 
to sleep very little, and would often, it was said, 
wdien all his officers had retired, and the camp 
was still, sit alone in his tent, sometimes read- 
ing, and sometimes revolving the anxious cares 
which were always pressing upon his mind. 
One night he was thus alone in his tent, with 
a srriall lamp burning before him, sitting lost 
in thought, when he suddenly heard a move- 

B.C. 41.] The Battle of Philippi. 215 

The spirit seen by Brutus. His conversation with it. 

ment as of some one entering the tent. He 
looked up, and saw a strange, unearthly, and 
monstrous shape, which appeared to have just 
entered the door and was coming toward him. 
The spirit gazed upon him as it advanced, but 
it did not speak. 

Brutus, who was not much accustomed to 
fear, boldly demanded of the apparition who and 
what it was, and what had brought it there. 
'^ I am your evil spirit," said the apparition. 
"I shall meet you at Philippi." "Then, it 
seems," said Brutus, " that, at any rate, I shall 
see you again," The spirit made no reply to 
this, but immediately vanished. 

Brutus arose, went to the door of his tent, 
summoned the sentinels, and awakened the sol- 
diers that were sleeping near. The sentinels 
had seen nothing ; and, after the most diligent 
search, no trace of the mysterious visitor could 
be found. 

The next morning Brutus related to Cassius 
the occurrence which he had witnessed. Cas- 
sius, though very sensitive, it seems, to the in- 
fluence of omens affecting himself, was quite 
philosophical in his views in respect to those of 
other men. He argued very rationally with 
Brutus to convince him that the vision which 

216 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Battle of Philippi. Defeat of Octaviua 

he had seen was only a phantom of sleep, tak- 
ing its form and character from the ideas and 
images which the situation in which Brutus 
was then placed, and the fatigue and anxiety 
which he had endured, would naturally impress 
upon his mind. 

But to return to the battle. Brutus fought 
against Octavius ; while Cassius, two or three 
miles distant, encountered Antony, that hav- 
ing been, as will be recollected, the disposition 
of the respective armies and their encampments 
upon the plain. Brutus was triumphantly suc- 
cessful in his part of the field. His troops de- 
feated the army of Octavius, and got possession 
of his camp. The men forced their way into 
Octavius's tent, and pierced the litter in which 
they supposed that the sick general was lying 
through and through with their spears. But 
the object of their desperate hostility was not 
there. He had been borne away by his guards 
a few minutes before, and no one knew what 
had become of him. 

The result of the battle was, however, unfor- 
tunately for those whose adventures we are now 
more particularly following, very different in 
Cassius's part of the field. When Brutus, after 
completing the conquest of his own immediate 

B.C. 41.] The Battle of Philippi. 217 

Defeat of Cassius. Brutus goes to his aid. 

foes, returned to his elevated camp, he looked 
toward the camp of Cassius, and was surprised 
to find that the tents had disappeared. Some 
of the officers around perceived weapons glan- 
cing and glittering in the sun in the place where 
Cassius's tents ought to appear. Brutus now^ 
suspected the truth, which was, that Cassius 
had been defeated, and his camp had fallen into 
the hands of the enemy. He immediately col- 
lected together as large a force as he could com- 
mand, and marched to the relief of his col- 
league. He found him, at last, posted with a 
small body of guards and attendants upon the 
top of a small elevation to which he had fled 
for safety. Cassius saw the troop of horsemen 
which Brutus sent forward coming toward him, 
and supposed that it was a detachment from 
Antony's army advancing to capture him. He, 
however, sent a messenger forward to meet 
them, and ascertain whether they were friends 
or foes. The messenger, whose name was Ti- 
tinius, rode down. The horsemen recognized 
Titinius, and, riding up eagerly around him, 
they dismounted from their horses to congrat- 
ulate him on his safety, and to press him with 
inquiries in respect to the result of the battle 
and the fate of his master. 

218 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41 

Death, of Cassius. Grief of Brutus. 

Cassius, seeing all this, but not seeing it very 
distinctly, supposed that the troop of horsemen 
were enemies, and that they had surrounded 
Titinius, and had cut him down or made him 
prisoner. He considered it certain, therefore, 
that all was now finally lost. Accordingly, in 
execution of a plan which he had previously 
formed, he called a servant, named Pindarus, 
whom he directed to follow him, and went into 
a tent which was near. When Brutus and 
his horsemen came up, they entered the tent. 
They found no living person within ; but the 
dead body of Cassius was there, the head being 
totally dissevered from it. Pindarus was never 
afterward to be found. 

Brutus was overwhelmed with grief at the 
death of his colleague ; lie was also oppressed 
by it with a double burden of responsibility and 
care, since now the whole conduct of affairs de- 
volved upon him alone. He found himself sur- 
rounded with difficulties which became more 
and more embarrassing every day. At length 
he was compelled to fight a second battle. The 
details of the contest itself we can not give, but 
the result of it was, that, notwithstanding the 
most unparalleled and desperate exertions made 
by Brutus to keep his men to the work, and to 

B.C. 41.] The Battle of Phtlippi. 219 

Defeat of Brutus. His retreat. 

maintain his ground, his troops were borne down 
and overwhelmed by the irresistible onsets of 
his enemies, and his cause was irretrievably and 
hopelessly ruined. 

When Brutus found that all was lost,, he al- 
lowed himself to be conducted off the field by a 
small body of guards, who, in their retreat, 
broke through the ranks of the enemy on a side 
where they saw that they should meet with the 
least resistance. They were, however, pursued 
by a squadron of horse, the horsemen being 
eager to make Brutus a prisoner. In this emer- 
gency, one of Brutus's friends, named Lucilius, 
conceived the design of pretending to be Brutus, 
and, as such, surrendering himself a prisoner. 
This plan he carried into effect. When the 
troop came up, he called out for quarter, said 
that he was Brutus, and begged them to spare 
his life, and to take him to Antony. The men 
did so, rejoiced at having, as they imagined, se- 
cured so invaluable a prize. 

In the mean time, the real Brutus pressed 
on to make his escape. He crossed a brook 
which came in his way, and entered into a little 
dell, which promised to afford a hiding-place, 
since it was encumbered with precipitous rocks 
and shaded with trees. A few friends and offi- 

220 Cleupatra. [B.C. 41. 

Situation of Brutus in the glen. The helmet of water. 

cers accompanied Brutus in his flight. Night 
soon came on, and he lay down in a little recess 
under a shelving rock, exhausted with fatigue 
and suffering. Then, raising his eyes to heaven, 
he imprecated, in lines quoted from a Greek 
poet, the just judgment of God upon the foes 
who were at that hour triumphing in what he 
considered the ruin of his country. 

He then, in his anguish and despair, enumer- 
ated by name the several friends and compan- 
ions whom he had seen fall that day in battle, 
mourning the loss of each with bitter grief. In 
the mean time, night was coming on, and the 
party, concealed thus in the wild dell, w^ere des- 
titute and unsheltered. Hungry and thirsty, 
and spent with fatigue as they were, there 
seemed to be no prospect for them of either rest 
or refreshment. Finally they sent one of their 
number to steal softly back to the rivulet wdiich 
they had crossed in their retreat, to bring them 
some water. The soldier took his helmet to 
bring the water in, for want of any other vessel. 
While Brutus was drinkinsf the water which 
they brought, a noise was heard in the opposite 
direction. Two of the officers were sent to as- 
certain the cause. They came back soon, re- 
porting that there was a party of the enemy in 

B.C. 41.] The Battlk of Philippi. 221 

Brutus surrounded. Proposal of Statilius. 

that quarter. They asked where the water was 
which had been brought. Brutus told them 
that it had all been drank, but that he would 
send immediately for more. The messenger 
went accordingly to the brook again, but he 
came back very soon, wounded and bleeding, 
and reported that the enemy was close upon 
them on that side too, and that he had narrowly 
escaped with his life. The apprehensions of 
Brutus's party were greatly increased by these 
tidings : it was evident that all hope of being 
able to remain long concealed where they were 
must fast disappear. 

One of the officers, named Statilius, then pro- 
posed to make the attempt to find his way out 
of the snare in which they had become involved. 
He would go, he said, as cautiously as possible, 
avoiding all parties of the enemy, and being 
favored by the darkness of the night, he hoped 
to find some way of retreat. If he succeeded, 
he would display a torch on a distant elevation 
which he designated, so that the party in the 
glen, on seeing the light, might be assured of 
his safety. He would then return and guide 
them all through the danger, by the wt^ay which 
he should have discovered. 

This plan was approved, and Stations ac- 

222 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Anxiety and suspense. Resolution of Brutus. 

cordingly departed. In due time the light was 
seen burning at the place which had been point- 
ed out, and indicating that StatiKus had accom- 
plished his undertaking. Brutus and his party 
were greatly cheered by the new hope which 
this result awakened. They began to watch 
and listen for their messenger's return. They 
watched and waited long, but be did not come. 
On the way back he was intercepted and slain. 
When at length all hope that he would re- 
turn was finally abandoned, some of the party, 
in the course of the despairing consultations 
which the unhappy fugitives held with one an- 
other, said that they must not remain any longer 
where they w^ere, but must make their escape 
from that spot at all hazards. ''Yes," said 
Brutus, "we must indeed make our escape 
from our present situation, but we must do it 
with our hands, and not with our feet." He 
meant by this that the only means now left to 
them to etade their enemies was self-destruc- 
tion. When his friends understood that this 
was his meaning, and that he was resolved to 
put thi^ design into execution in his own case, 
they wel'e overwhelmed with sorrow. Brutus 
took them, one by one, by the hand and bade 
them fiarewell. He thanked them for their fidel- 

B.C. 41.] The Battle of Philippi. 223 

Erutus's farewell to his friends. The last. duty. 

ity in adhering to his cause to the last, and said 
that it was a source of great comfort and satis- 
faction to him that all his friends had proved so 
faithful and true. " I do not complain of my 
hard fate," he added, " so far as I myself am 
concerned. I mourn only for my unhappy coun- 
try. As to myself, I think that my condition 
even now is better than that of my enemies ; 
for, though I die, posterity will do me justice, 
and I shall enjoy forever the honor which virtue 
and integrity deserve ; while they, though they 
live, live only to reap the bitter fruits of injus- 
tice and of tyranny. 

''After I am gone," he continued, addressing 
his friends, as before, "think no longer of me, 
but take care of yourselves. Antony, I am sure, 
will be satisfied with Cassius's death and mine. 
He will not be disposed to pursue you vindic- 
tively any longer. Make peace with him on 
the best terms that you can." 

Brutus then asked first one and then an- 
other of his friends to aid him in the last duty, 
as he seems to have considered it, of destroying 
his life ; but one after another declared that 
they could not do any thing to assist him in 
carrying into effect so dreadful a determination. 
Finally, he took with him an old and long-tried 

224 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Death of Brutus. Situation of Antony. 

friend named Strato, and went away a little, 
apart from the rest. Here he solicited once 
more the favor which had been refused him be- 
fore — begging that Strato would hold out his 
sword. Strato still refused. Brutus then called 
one of his slaves. Upon this Strato declared 
that he would do any thing rather than that 
Brutus should die by the hand of a slave. He 
took the sword, and with his right hand held it 
extended in the air. With the left hand he 
covered his eyes, that he might not witness the 
horrible spectacle. Brutus rushed upon the 
point of the weapon with such fatal force that 
he fell and immediately expired. 

Thus ended the great and famous battle of 
Philippi, celebrated in history as marking the 
termination of the great conflict between the 
friends and the enemies of Csesar, which agita- 
ted the world so deeply after the conqueror's 
death. This battle established the ascendency 
of Antony, and made him for a time the most 
conspicuous man, as Cleopatra was the most 
ccnspicuous woman, in the world. 

B.C.41.] Cleopatra and Antony. 225 

Cleopatra espouses Antony's cause. Her motivea. 

Chapter X. 
Cleopatra and Antony. 

HOW far Cleopatra was influenced, in her 
determination to espouse the cause of An- 
tony rather than that of Brutus and Cassius, in 
the civil war described in the last chapter, by- 
gratitude to C^sar, and how far, on the other 
hand, by personal interest in Antony, the read- 
er must judge. Cleopatra had seen Antony, it 
will be recollected, some years before, during 
his visit to Egypt, when she was a young girl. 
She was doubtless well acquainted with his 
character. It was a character peculiarly fitted, 
in some respects, to captivate the imagination 
of a woman so ardent, and impulsive, and bold 
as Cleopatra was fast becoming. 

Antony had, in fact, made himself an object 
of universal interest throughout the world, by 
his wild and eccentric manners and reckless 
conduct, and by the very extraordinary vicissi- 
tudes which had marked his career. In moral 
character he was as utterly abandoned and de- 
praved as it was possible to be. In early life, 

226 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Antony's early life. His character. 

as has already been stated, he plunged into such 
a course of dissipation and extravagance that 
he became utterly and hopelessly ruined ; or, 
rather, he would have been so, had he not, by 
the influence of that magic power of fascination 
which such characters often possess, succeeded 
in gaining a great ascendency over a young 
man of immense fortune, named Curio, who for 
a time upheld him by becoming surety for his 
debts. This resource, however, soon failed, and 
Antony was compelled to abandon Rome, and 
to live for some years as a fugitive and exile, in 
dissolute wretchedness and want. During all 
the subsequent vicissitudes through which he 
passed in the course of his career, the same 
habits of lavish expenditure continued, when- 
ever he had funds at his command. This trait 
in his character took the form sometimes of a 
noble generosity. In his campaigns, the plun- 
der which he acquired he usually divided among 
his soldiers, reserving nothing for himself. This 
made his men enthusiastically devoted to him^ 
and led them to consider his prodigality as a 
virtue, even when they did not themselves de- 
rive any direct advantage from it. A thousand 
stories were always in circulation in camp of 
acts on his part illustrating his reckless disre- 

B.C. 41.] Cleopatra and Antony. 227 

Personal habits of Antony. His dress and manners. 

gard of the value of money, some ludicrous, and 
all eccentric and strange. 

In his personal habits, too, he was as differ- 
ent as possible from other men. He prided him- 
self on being descended from Hercules, and he 
affeeted a style of dress and a general air and 
manner in accordance with the savage charac- 
ter of this his pretended ancestor. His features 
were sharp, his nose was arched and prominent, 
and he wore his hair and beard very long — as 
long, in fact, as he could make them grow. 
These peculiarities imparted to his countenance 
a very wild and ferocious expression. He adopt- 
ed a style of dress, too, which, judged of with 
reference to the prevailing fashions of the time, 
gave to his whole appearance a rough, savage, 
and reckless air. His manner and demeanor 
corresponded with his dress and appearance. 
He lived in habits of the most unreserved fa- 
miliarity with his soldiers. He associated free- 
ly with them, ate and drank with them in the 
open air, and joined in their noisy mirth and 
rude and boisterous hilarity. His commanding 
poweis of mind, and the desperate recklessness 
of his courage, enabled him to do all this with- 
out danger. These qualities inspired in the 
minds of the soldiers a feelings of profound re- 

228 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Vicious indulgences of Antony. Public condemnation. 

spect for their commander ; and this good opin- 
ion he was enabled to retain, notwithstanding 
such habits of familiarity with his inferiors as 
would have been fatal to the influence of an or- 
dinary man. 

In the most prosperous portion of Antony's 
career — for example, during the period imme- 
diately preceding" the death of Csesar — he ad- 
dicted himself to vicious indulgences of the most 
open, public, and shameless character. He had 
around him a sort of court, formed of jesters, 
tumblers, mountebanks, play-actors, and other 
similar characters of the lowest and most dis- 
reputable class. Many of these companions 
were singing and dancing girls, very beautiful, 
and very highly accomplished in the arts of 
their respective professions, but all totally cor- 
rupt and depraved. Public sentiment, even in 
that age and nation, strongly condemned this 
conduct. The people were pagans, it is true, 
but it is a mistake to suppose that the forma- 
tion of a moral sentiment in the community 
against such vices as these is a work which 
Christianity alone can perform. There is a law 
of nature, in the form of an instinct universal 
in the race, imperiously enjoining that the con- 
nection of the sexes shall consist of the union 

B.C. 41.] Cleopatra and Antony. 229 

Vices of the great. " Candidates for office. 

of one man with one woman, and that woman 
his wife, and very sternly prohibiting ever}?- oth- 
er. So that there has probably never been a 
community in the world so corrupt, that a man 
could practice in it such vices as those of An- 
tony, without not only violating his own sense 
of right and wrong, but also bringing upon him- 
self the general condemnation of those around 

Still, the world are prone to be very tolerant 
in respect to the vices of the great. Such ex- 
alted personages as Antony seem to be judged 
by a different standard from common men. 
Even in the countries where those who occupy 
high stations of trust or of power are actually 
selected, for the purpose of being placed there, 
by the voices of their fellow-men, all inquiry 
into the personal character of a candidate is 
often suppressed, such inquiry being condemned 
as wholly irrelevant and improper, and they 
who succeed in attaining to power enjoy im- 
munities in their elevation which are denied 
to common men. 

But, notwithstanding the influence of An- 
tony's rank and power in shielding him from 
public censure, he carried his excesses to such 
an extreme that his conduct w^as very loudly 


Cleopatra. [B.C. 41r 

Antony's excesses. 

His luxury and extravagance- 

and very generally condemned. He would 
spend ail the night in carousals, and then, the 
next day, would appear in public, staggering in 
the streets. Sometimes he would enter the tri- 
bunals for the transaction of business when he 
was so intoxicated that it would be necessary 
for friends to come to his assistance to conduct 
him away. In some of his journeys in the 
neighborhood of Rome, he would take a troop 
of companions with him of the worst possible 
character, and travel with them openly and 
without shame. There was a certain actress, 
named Cytheride, whom he made his compan- 
ion on one such occasion. She was borne upon 
a litter in his train, and he carried about with 
him a vast collection of gold and silver plate, 
and of splendid table furniture, together with 
an endless supply of luxurious articles of food 
and of wine, to provide for the entertainments 
and banquets which he was to celebrate with 
her on the journey. He would sometimes stop 
by the road side, pitch his tents, establish his 
kitchens, set his cooks at work to prepare a 
feast, spread his tables, and make a sumptuous 
banquet of the most costly, complete, and cer- 
emonious character — all to make men wonder 
at the abundance and perfection of the means 

B.C. 41.] Cleopatra and Antony. 231 

Antony's energy. His powers of endurance. 

of luxury which he could carry with him wher- 
ever he might go. In fact, he always seemed 
to feel a special pleasure in doing strange and 
extraordinary things in order to excite surprise. 
Once on a journey he had lions harnessed to his 
carts to draw his baggage, in order to create a 

Notwithstanding the heedlessness with which 
Antony abandoned himself to these luxurious 
pleasures when at Rome, no man could endure 
exposure and hardship better when in camp or 
on the field. In fact, he rushed with as much 
headlong precipitation into difficulty and danger 
when abroad, as into expense and dissipation 
when at home. During his contests with Oo- 
tavius and Lepidus, after CsBsar's death, he once 
had occasion to pass the i^lps, which, with his 
customary recklessness, he attempted to trav- 
erse without any proper supplies of stores or 
means of transportation. He was reduced, on 
the passage, together with the troops under his 
command, to the most extreme destitution and 
distress. They had to feed on roots and herbs, 
and finally on the bark of trees ; and they barely 
preserved themselves, by these means, from ac- 
tual starvation. Antony seemed, however, to 
care nothing for all this, but pressed on through 

232 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Antony's vicissitudes. He inveigles away the troops of Lepidus. 

the difficulty and danger, manifesting the same 
daring and determined unconcern to the end. 
In the same campaign he found himself at one 
time reduced to extreme destitution in respect 
to men. His troops had been gradually wasted 
away until his situation had become very des- 
perate. He conceived, under these circum- 
stances, the most extraordinary idea of going 
over alone to the camp of Lepidus and enticing 
away his rival's troops from under the very eyes 
of their commander. This bold design was suc- 
cessfully executed. Antony advanced alone, 
clothed in wretched garments, and with his 
matted hair and beard hans^inof about his breast 
and shoulders, up to Lepidus's lines. The men, 
who knew him well, received him with accla- 
mations ; and pitying the sad condition to which 
they saw that he was reduced, began to listen 
to what he had to say. Lepidus, who could 
not attack him, since he and Antony were not 
at that time in open hostility to each other, but 
were only rival commanders in the same army, 
ordered the trumpeters to sound, in order to 
make a noise which should prevent the words 
of Antony from being heard. This interrupted 
the negotiation ; but the men immediately dis- 
guised two of their number in female apparel, 

B.C. 41.] Cleopatra and Antony. 233 

Antony's marriage. Fulvia's character. 

and sent them to Antony to make arrange- 
ments with him for putting themselves under 
his command, and offering, at the same time, 
to murder Lepidus, if he would but speak the 
word. Antony charged them to do Lepidus no 
injury. He, however, went over and took pos- 
session of the camp, and assumed the command 
of the army. He treated Lepidus himself, per- 
sonally, with extreme politeness, and retained 
him as a subordinate under his command. 

Not far from the time of Csesar's death, An- 
tony was married. The name of the lady was 
Fulvia. She was a widow at the time of her 
marriage with Antony, and was a woman of 
very marked and decided character. She had 
led a wild and irregular life previous to this 
time, but she conceived a very strong attach- 
ment to her new husband, and devoted herself 
to him from the time of her marriage with the 
most constant fidelity. She soon acquired a 
very great ascendency over him, and was the 
means of effecting a very considerable reform in 
his conduct and character. She was an ambi- 
tious and aspiring woman, and made many very 
efficient and successful efforts to promote the 
elevation and aggrandizement of her husband. 
She appeared, also, to take a great pride and 

234 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41 

Fulvia's influence over Antony. The sudden return. 

pleasure in exercising over him, herself, a great 
personal control. She succeeded in these at- 
tempts in a manner that surprised every body. 
It seemed astonishing to all mankind that such 
a tiger as he had been could be subdued by any 
human power. Nor was it by gentleness and 
mildness that Fulvia gained such power over 
her husband. She was of a very stern and 
masculine character, and she seems to have 
mastered Antony by surpassing him in the use 
of his own weapons. In fact, instead of attempt- 
ing to soothe and mollify him, she reduced him, 
it seems, to the necessity of resorting to various 
contrivances to soften and propitiate her. Once, 
for example, on his return from a campaign in 
which he had been exposed to great dangers, 
he disguised himself and came home at night 
in the garb of a courier bearing dispatches. He 
caused himself to be ushered, muffled and dis- 
guised as he was, into Fulvia's apartments, 
where he handed her some pretended letters, 
which, he said, were from her husband ; and 
while Fulvia was opening them in great ex- 
citement and trepidation, he threw off his dis- 
guise, and revealed himself to her by clasping 
her in his arms and kissing her in the midst of 
her amazement. 

B.C. 41,] Cleopatra and Antony. 235 

Change in Antony's character. His generosity. 

Antony's marriage with Fulvia, besides being 
the means of reforming his morals in some de- 
gree, softened and civilized him in respect to 
his manners. His dress and appearance now- 
assumed a different character. In fact, his po- 
litical elevation after Csssar's death soon became 
very exalted, and the various democratic arts 
by which he had sought to raise himself to it, 
being now no longer necessary, were, as usual 
in such cases, gradually discarded. He lived 
in great style and splendor when at Home, and 
when absent from home, on his military cam- 
paigns, he began to exhibit the same pomp and 
parade in his equipage and in his arrangements 
as were usual in the camps of other Roman 

After the battle of Philippi, described in the 
last chapter, Antony — who, with all his faults, 
was sometimes a very generous foe — as soon as 
the tidings of Brutus's death were brought to 
him, repaired immediately to the spot, and ap- 
peared to be quite shocked and concerned at 
the sight of the body. He took oft' his own mil- 
itary cloak or mantle — which was a very mag- 
nificent and costly garment, being enriched with 
many expensive ornaments— and spread it over 
the corpse. He then gave directions to one of 

236 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Funeral ceremonies of Brutus. Antony's movements. 

the officers of his household to make arrange- 
ments for funeral ceremonies of a very imposing 
character, as a testimony of his respect for the 
memory of the deceased. In these ceremonies 
it was the duty of the officer to have burned 
the military cloak which Antony had appropri- 
ated to the purpose of a pall, with the body. 
He did not, however, do so. The cloak being 
very valuable, he reserved it ; and he withheld, 
also, a considerable part of the money which 
had been given him for the expenses of the fu- 
neral. He supposed that Antony would proba- 
bly not inquire very closely into the details of 
the arrangements made for the funeral of his 
most inveterate enemy. Antony, however, did 
inquire into them, and when he learned what 
the officer had done, he ordered him to be killed. 
The various political changes which occur- 
red, and the movements which took place among 
the several armies after the battle of Philippi, 
can not be here detailed. It is sufficient to say 
that Antony proceeded to the eastward through 
Asia Minor, and in the course of the following 
year came into Cilicia. From this place he 
sent a messenger to Egypt to Cleopatra, sum- 
moning her to appear before him. There were 
charges, he said, against her, of having aided 

B.C. 41.] Cleopatra and Antony. 237 

Antony's summons to Cleopatra. The messenger Dellius. 

Cassius and Brutus in the late war instead of 
rendering assistance to him. Whether there 
really were any such charges, or whether they 
were only fabricated by Antony as pretexts for 
seeing Cleopatra, the fame of whose beauty was 
very widely extended, does not certainly appear. 
However this may be, he sent to summon the 
queen to come to him. The name of the mes- 
senger whom Antony dispatched on this errand 
was Dellius. Fulvia, Antony's wife, was not 
with -him at this time. She had been left be- 
hind at Rome. 

Dellius proceeded to Egypt and appeared at 
Cleopatra's court. The queen was at this time 
about twenty-eight years old, but more beauti- 
ful, as was said, than ever before. Dellius was 
very much struck with her beauty, and with, a 
certain fascination in her voice and conversation, 
of which her ancient biographers often speak as 
one of the most irresistible of her charms. He 
told her that she need have no fear of Antony. 
It was of no consequence, he said, what charg- 
es there might be against her. She would find 
that, in a very few days after she had entered 
into Antony's presence, she would be in great 
favor. She might rely, in fact, he said, on gain- 
ing; very speedily, an unbounded ascendency 

23S Cleopatra. [6.0.41. 

Cleopatra resolves to go to Antony. Her preparations 

over the general. He advised her, therefore, to 
proceed to Cilicia without fear, and to present 
herself before Antony in as much pomp and 
magnificence as she could command- He would 
answer, he said, for the result. 

Cleopatra determined to follow this advice. 
In fact, her ardent and impulsive imagination 
was fired with the idea of making, a second 
time, the conquest of the greatest general and 
highest potentate in the world. She began im- 
mediately to make provision for the voyage. 
She employed all the resources of her kingdom 
in procuring for herself the most magnificent 
means of display, such as expensive and splen- 
did dresses, rich, services of plate, ornaments of 
precious stones and of gold, and presents in 
great variety and of the most costly description 
for Antony. She appointed, also, a numerous 
retinue of attendants to accompany her, and, in 
a word, made all the arrangements complete for 
an expedition of the most imposing and mag- 
nificent character. While these preparations 
were going forward, she received new and fre- 
quent communications from Antony, urging her 
to hasten her departure ; but she paid very lit- 
tle attention to them. It was evident that she 
felt quite independent, and was intending to 
take her own time. 

B.C. 41.] Cleopatra and Antony. 239 

Cleopatra enters the Cydnus. Her splendid barge. 

At length, however, all was ready, and Cle- 
opatra set sail. She crossed the Mediterranean 
Sea, and entered the mouth of the River Cyd- 
nus. Antony was at Tarsus, a city upon the 
Cydnus, a small distance above its mouth. 
When Cleopatra's fleet had entered the river, 
she embarked on board a most magnificent 
barge which she had constructed for the occa- 
sion, and had brought with her across the sea. 
This barge was the most magnificent and high- 
ly-ornamented vessel that had ever been built. 
It was adorned with carvings and decorations 
of the finest workmanship, and elaborately gild- 
ed. The sails were of purple, and the oars 
were inlaid and tipped with silver. Upon the 
deck of this barge Queen Cleopatra appeared, 
under a canopy of cloth of gold. She was dressed 
very magnificently in the costume in which Ve- 
nus, the goddess of Beauty, was then generally 
represented. She was surrounded by a compa- 
ny of beautiful boys, who attended upon her in 
the form of Cupids, and fanned her with their 
wings, and by a group of young girls represent- 
ing the Nymphs and the Graces. There was 
a band of musicians stationed upon the deck. 
This music guided the oarsmen, as they kept 
time to it in their rowing ; and, soft as the mel- 

240 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

A scene of enchantment. Antony's invitation refused. 

ody wasj the strains were heard far and wide 
over the water and along the shores, as the 
beautiful vessel advanced on its way. The 
performers were provided with flutes, lyres, vi- 
ols, and all the other instruments customarily 
used in those times to produce music of a gen- 
tle and voluptuous kind. 

In fact, the whole spectacle seemed like a 
vision of enchantment. Tidings of the approach 
of the barge spread rapidly around, and the 
people of the country came down in crowds to 
the shores of the river to gaze upon it in admi- 
ration as it glided slowly along. At the time 
of its arrival at Tarsus, Antony was engaged 
in giving a public audience at some tribunal in 
his palace, but every body ran to see Cleopatra 
and the barge, and the great triumvir was left 
consequently alone, or, at least, with only a 
few official attendants near him. Cleopatra, 
on arriving at the city, landed, and began to 
pitch her tents on the shores. Antony sent a 
messenger to bid her welcome, and to invite her 
to come and sup with him. She declined the 
invitation, saying that it was more proper that 
he should come and sup with her. She would 
accordingly expect him to come, she said, and 
her tents would be ready at the proper hour. 

B.C. 41.] Antony and Cleopatra. 24ci 

Cleopatra's reception of Antony. Antony outdone. 

Antony complied with her proposal, and came 
to her entertainment. He was received with a 
magnificence and splendor which amazed him. 
The tents and pavilions where the entertain- 
ment was made were illuminated with an im- 
mense number of lamps. These lamps were 
arranged in a very ingenious and beautiful 
manner, so as to produce an illumination of the 
most surprising brilliancy and beauty. The 
immense number and variety, too, of the meats 
and wines, and of the vessels of gold and silver, 
with which the tables were loaded, and the 
magnificence and splendor of the dresses worn 
by Cleopatra and her attendants, combined to 
render the whole scene one of bewildering en- 

The next day, Antony invited Cleopatra to 
come and return his visit ; but, though he made 
every possible effort to provide a banquet as 
sumptuous and as sumptuously served as hers, 
he failed entirely in this attempt, and acknowl- 
edged himself completely outdone. Antony 
was, moreover, at these interviews, perfectly 
fascinated with Cleopatra's charms. Her beau- 
ty, her wit, her thousand accomplishments, and, 
above all, the tact, and adroitness, and self-pos- 
session which she displayed in assuming at once 

244 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Murder of Arsinoe. Cleopatra's manner of life at Tarsus. 

SO boldly, and carrying out so adroitly, the idea 
of her social superiority over him, that he yield- 
ed his heart almost immediately to her undis- 
puted sway. 

The first use which. Cleopatra made of her 
power was to ask Antony, for her sake, to or- 
der her sister Arsinoe to be slain. Arsinoe 
had gone, it will be recollected, to Rome, to 
grace Caesar's triumph there, and had afterward 
retired to Asia, where she was now living an 
exile. Cleopatra, either from a sentiment of 
past revenge, or else from some apprehensions 
of future danger, now desired that her sister 
should die. Antony readily acceded to her re- 
quest. He sent an officer in search of the un- 
happy princess. The officer slew her where he 
found her, within the precincts of a temple to 
which she had fled, supposing it a sanctuary 
which no degree of hostility, however extreme, 
would have dared to violate. 

Cleopatra remained at Tarsus for some time, 
revolving in an incessant round of gayety and 
pleasure, and living in habits of unrestrained 
intimacy with Antony. She was accustomed 
to spend whole days and nights with him in 
feasting and revelry. The immense magnifi- 
cence of these entertainments, especially on 

B.C. 41.] Antony and Cleopatra. 245 

Cleopatra's munificence. Story of the pearls, 

Cleopatra's part, were the wonder of the world. 
She seems to have taken special pleasure in ex- 
citing Antony's surprise by the display of her 
wealth and the boundless extravagance in which 
she indulged. At one of her banquets, Antony 
was expressing his astonishment at the vast 
number of gold cups, enriched with jewels, that 
were displayed on all sides. " Oh," said she, 
" they are nothing ; if you like them, you shall 
have them all." So saying, she ordered her 
servants to carry them to Antony's house. The 
next day she invited Antony again, with a large 
number of the chief officers of his army and 
court. The table was spread with a new serv- 
ice of gold and silver vessels, more extensive 
and splendid than that of the preceding day ; 
and at the close of the supper, when the com- 
pany was about to depart, Cleopatra distribu- 
ted all these treasures among the guests that 
had been present at the eritertainment. At an- 
other of these feasts, she carried her ostentation 
and display to the astonishing extreme of tak- 
ing off from one of her ear-rings a pearl of im- 
mense value and dissolving it in a cup of vine- 
gar,* which she afterward made into a drink, 

* Pearls, being of tbe nature of shell in their composition 
and structure, are soluble in certain acids. 

246 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Position of Fulvia. Her anxiety and distress. 

such as was customarily used in those days, 
and then drank it. She was proceeding to do 
the same with the other pearl, when some of 
the company arrested the proceeding, and took 
the remaining pearl away. 

In the mean time, while Antony was thus 
wasting his time in luxury and pleasure with 
Cleopatra, his public duties were neglected, and 
every thing was getting into confusion. Fulvia ' 
remained in Italy. Her position and her char- 
acter gave her a commanding political influence, 
and she exerted herself in a very energetic man- 
ner to sustain, in that quarter of the world, the 
interests of her husband's cause. She was sur- 
rounded with difficulties and dangers, the de- 
tails of which can not, however, be here partic- 
ularly described. She wrote continually to An- 
tony, urgently entreating him to come to Rome, 
and displaying in her letters all those marks of 
agitation and distress which a wife would natu- 
rally feel under the circumstances in which she 
was placed. The thought that her husband 
had been so completely drawn away from her 
by the guilty arts of such a woman, and led by 
her to abandon his wife and his family, and 
leave in neglect and confusion concerns of such 
momentous magnitude as those which demand- 

B.C. 41.] Antony and Cleopatra. 247 

Kntony proposes to go to Rome. His plans frustrated by Cleopatra. 

ed his attention at home, produced an excite- 
ment in her mind bordering upon phrensy. An- 
tony was at length so far influenced by the ur- 
gency of the case that he determined to return. 
He broke up his quarters at Tarsus and moved 
south toward Tyre, which was a great naval 
port and station in those days. Cleopatra went 
with. him. They were to separate at Tyre. 
She was to embark there for Egypt, and he for 

At least that was Antony's plan, but it was 
not Cleopatra's. * She had determined that An- 
tony should go with her to Alexandria. As 
might have been expected, when the time came 
for the decision, the woman gained the day. 
Her flatteries, her arts, her caresses, her tears, 
prevailed. After a brief struggle between the 
sentiment of love on the one hand and those of 
ambition and of duty combined on the other, 
Antony gave up the contest. Abandoning 
every thing else, he surrendered himself wholly 
to Cleopatra's control, and went with her to 
Alexandria. He spent the winter there, giving 
himself up with her to every species of sensual 
indulgence that the most remorseless license 
could tolerate, and the most unbounded wealth 

248 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Antony's infatuation. Feasting and revelry. 

There seemed, in fact, to be no bounds to the 
extravagance and infatuation which Antony dis- 
played during the winter in Alexandria. Cleo- 
patra devoted herself to him incessantly, day and 
night, filling up every moment of time with some 
new form of pleasure, in order that he might 
have no time to think of his absent wife, or to 
listen to the reproaches of his conscience. An- 
tony, on his part, surrendered himself a willing 
victim to these wiles, and entered with all his 
heart into the thousand plans of gayety and 
merry-making which Cleopatra devised. They 
had each a separate establishment in the city, 
which was maintained at an enormous cost, and 
they made a regular arrangement by which each 
was the guest of the other on alternate days. 
These visits were spent in games, sports, spec- 
tacles, feasting, drinking, and in every species 
of riot, irregularity, and excess. 

A curious instance is afforded of the acci- 
dental manner in which intelligence in respect 
to the scenes and incidents of private life in 
those ancient days is sometimes obtained, in a 
circumstance which occurred at this time at 
Antony's court. It seems that there was a 
young medical student at Alexandria that win- 
ter, named Philotas, who happened, in some 

B.C. 41.] Antony and Cleopatra. 249 

Philotas. The story of the eight boars. 

way or other, to have formed an acquaintance 
with one of Antony's domestics, a cook. Under 
the guidance of this cook, Philotas went one day 
into the palace to see what was to be seen. The 
cook took his friend into the kitchens, where, 
to Philotas's great surprise, he saw, among an 
infinite number and variety of other prepara- 
tions, eight wild boars roasting before the fires, 
some being more and some less advanced in the 
process. Philotas asked what great company 
was to dine there that day. The cook smiled 
at this question, and replied that there was to 
be no company at all, other than Antony's ordi- 
nary party. '' But," said the cook, in explana- 
tion, "we are obliged always to prepare several 
suppers, and to have them ready in succession 
at different hours, for no one can tell at what 
time they will order the entertainment to be 
served. Sometimes, when the supper has been 
actually carried in, Antony and Cleopatra will 
get engaged in some new tm-n of their diver- 
sions, and conclude not to sit down just then to 
the table, and so we have to take the supper 
away, and presently bring in another." 

Antony had a son with him at Alexandria at 
this tim^e, the child of his wife Fulvia. The 
name of the son, as well as that of the father. 

250 Cleopatra. [B.C. 41. 

Antony's son. The garrulous guest. 

was Antony. He was old enough to feel some 
sense of shame at his father's dereliction from 
duty, and to manifest some respectful regard 
for the rights and the honor of his mother. In- 
stead of this, however, he imitated his father's 
example, and, in his own way, was as reckless 
and as extravagant as he. The same Philotas 
who is above referred to was, after a time, ap- 
pointed to some office or other in the young 
Antony's household, so that he was accustomed 
to sit at his table and share in his convivial en- 
joyments. He relates that once, while they 
were feasting together, there was a guest pres- 
ent, a physician, who was a very vain and con- 
ceited man, and so talkative that no one else 
had any opportunity to speak. All the pleas- 
ure of conversation was spoiled by his excessive 
garrulity. Philotas, however, at length puz- 
zled him so completely with a question of logic 
— of a kind similar to those often discussed with 
great interest in ancient days — as to silence him 
for a time ; and young Antony was so much 
delighted with this feat, that he gave Philotas 
all the gold and silver plate that there was upon 
the table, and sent all the articles home to him, 
after the entertainment was over, telling him to 
put his mark and stamp upon them, and lock 
them up. 

B.C. 41.] Cleopatra and Antony. 251 

The puzzle. The gold and silver plate returned. 

The question with which Philotas puzzled 
the self-conceited physician was this. It must 
be premised, however, that in those days it was 
considered that cold water in an intermittent 
fever was extremely dangerous, except in some 
peculiar cases, and in those the effect was good. 
Philotas then argued as follows: ''In cases of 
a certain kind it is best to give water to a pa- 
tient in an ague. All cases of ague are cases 
of a certain kind. Therefore it is best in all 
cases to give the patient water." Philotas hav- ' 
ing propounded his argument in this way, chal- 
lenged the physician to point out the fallacy of 
it ; and while the physician sat perplexed and 
puzzled in his attempts to unravel the intricacy 
of it, the company enjoyed a temporary respite 
from his excessive loquacity. 

Philotas adds, in his account of this affair, 
that he sent the gold and silver plate back to 
young Antony again, being afraid to keep them. 
Antony said that perhaps it was as well that 
this should be done, since many of the vessels 
were of great value on account of their rare and 
antique workmanship, and his father might pos- 
sibly miss them and wish to know what had 
become of them. 

As there were no limits, on the one hand, to 

252 Cleopatra. [B.C.41. 

Debasing pleasures. Antony and Cleopatra in disguise. 

the loftiness and grandeur of the pleasures to 
which Antony and Cleopatra addicted them- 
selves, so there were none to the low and de- 
basing tendencies w4iich characterized them on 
the other. Sometimes, at midnight, after hav- 
ing been spending many hours in mirth and 
revelry in the palace, Antony would disguise 
himself in the dress of a slave, and sally forth 
into the streets, excited with wine, in search of 
adventures. In many cases, Cleopatra herself, 
similarly disguised, would go out with him. On 
these excursions Antony would take pleasure in 
involving himself in all sorts of difficulties and 
dangers — in street riots, drunken brawls, and 
desperate quarrels with the populace — all for 
Cleopatra's amusement and his own. Stories 
of these adventures would circulate afterward 
among the people, some of whom would admire 
the free and jovial character of their eccentric 
visitor, and others would despise him as a prince 
degrading himself to the level of a brute. 

Some of the amusements and pleasures which 
Antony and Cleopatra pursued were innocent 
in themselves, though wholly unworthy to be 
made the serious business of life by personages 
on whom such exalted duties rightfully devolv- 
ed. They marie various excursions upon the 

B.C.41.] Cleopatra and Antony. 253 

Fishing excursions. Stratagems. 

Nile, and arranged parties of pleasure to go out 
on the water in the harbor, and to various rural 
retreats in the environs of the city. Once they 
went out on a fishing-party, in boats, in the 
port. Antony was unsuccessful; and feeling 
chagrined that Cleopatra should witness his ill 
luck, he made a secret arrangement with some 
of the fishermen to dive down, where they could 
do so unobserved, and fasten fishes to his hook 
under the water. By this plan he caught very 
large and fine fish very fast. Cleopatra, how- 
ever, was too wary to be easily deceived by such 
a stratagem as this. She observed the maneu- 
ver, but pretended not to observe it ; she ex- 
pressed, on the other hand, the greatest sur- 
prise and delight at Antony's good luck, and 
the extraordinary skill which it indicated. 

The next day she wished to go a fishing 
again, and a party was accordingly made as on 
the day before. She had, however, secretly in- 
structed another fisherman to procure a dried 
and salted fish from the market, and, watching 
his opportunity, to get down into the water un- 
der the boats and attach it to the hook, before 
Antony's divers could get there. This plan 
succeeded, and Antony, in the midst of. a large 
and gay party that were looking on, pulled out 

254 Cleopatra. [B.C.41 

Fulvia's p]ans for compelling Antony to return. 

an excellent fish, cured and dried, such as was 
known to every one as an imported article, 
bought in the market. It was a fish of a kind 
that was brought originally from Asia Minor. 
The boats, and the water all around them, re- 
sounded with the shouts of merriment and 
laughter which this incident occasioned. 

In the mean time, while Antony was thus 
spending his time in low and ignoble pursuits 
and in guilty pleasures at Alexandria, his wife 
Fulvia, after exhausting all other means of in- 
ducing her husband to return to her, became 
desperate, and took measures for fomenting an 
open war, which she thought would compel him 
to return. The extraordinary energy, influ- 
ence, and talent which Fulvia possessed, ena- 
bled her to do this in an eflfectual manner. 
She organized an army, formed a camp, placed 
herself at the head of the troops, and sent such 
tidings to Antony of the dangers which threat- 
ened his cause as greatly alarmed him. At the 
same time news came of great disasters in Asia 
Minor, and of alarming insurrections among 
the provinces which had been committed to his 
charge there. Antony saw that he must arouse 
himself from the spell which had enchanted 

B.C. 41.] Cleopatra and Antony. 255 

Departure of Antony. Chagrin of Cleopatra. 

him and break away from Cleopatra, or that he 
would be wholly and irretrievably ruined. He 
made, accordingly, a desperate effort to get free. 
He bade the queen farewell, embarked hastily 
in a fleet of galleys, and sailed away to Tyre, 
leaving Cleopatra in her palace, vexed, disap- 
pointed, and chagrined. 

256 Cleopatra. [B.C. 31. 

Perplexity of Antony. His meeting with Fulvia. 

Chapter XL 
The Battle of Actium. 

CLEOPATRA, ill parting with Antony a& 
described in the last chapter, lost him for 
two or three years. During this time Antony 
himself was involved in a great variety of diffi- 
culties and dangers, and passed through many 
eventful scenes, which, however, can not here 
be described in detail. His life, during this 
period, was full of vicissitude and excitement, 
and was spent probably in alternations of re- 
morse for the past and anxiety for the future. 
On landing at Tyre, he was at first extremely 
perplexed whether to go to Asia Minor or to 
Rome. His presence was imperiously demand- 
ed in both places. The war which Fulvia had 
fomented was caused, in part, by the rivalry 
of Octavius, and the collision of his interests 
with those of her husband. Antony was very 
angry with her for having managed his affairs 
in such a way as to bring about a war. After 
a time Antony and Fulvia met at Athens. Ful- 
via had retreated to that city, and was very 

B.C. 31.] The Battle of Actium. 257 

Meeting of Antony and Fulvia. Reconciliation of Antony and Octavius. 

seriously sick there, either from bodily disease, 
or from the influence of long-continued anxiety, 
Vexation, and distress. They had a stormy 
meeting. Neither party was disposed to exer- 
cise any mercy toward the other. Antony left 
his wife rudely and roughly, after loading her 
with reproaches. A short time afterward, she 
sank down in sorrow to the grave. 

The death of Fulvia was an event which 
proved to be of advantage to Antony. It opened 
the way to a reconciliation between him and 
Octavius. Fulvia had been extremely active 
in opposing Octavius's designs, and in organi- 
zing plans for resisting him. He felt, therefore, 
a special hostility against her, and, through her, 
against Antony. Now, however, that she was 
dead, the way seemed to be in some sense open- 
ed for a reconciliation. 

Octavius had a sister, Octavia, who had been 
the wife of a Roman general named Marcellus. 
She was a very beautiful and a very accom- 
plished woman, and of a spirit very different 
from that of Fulvia. She was gentle, affec- 
tionate, and kind, a lover of peace and harmony, 
and not at all disposed, like Fulvia, to assert 
and maintain her influence over others by an 
overbearing and violent demeanor. OcJ;aviaZs 

258 Cleopatra. [B.C. 31. 

Octavia. Her marriage to Antony. 

husband died about this time, and, in the course 
of the movements and negotiations between An- 
tony and Octavius, the plan was proposed of a 
marriage between Antony and Octavia, which, 
it was thought, would ratify and confirm the 
reconciliation. This proposal was finally agreed 
upon. Antony was glad to find so easy a mode 
of settling his difficulties. The people of Rome, 
too, and the authorities there, knowing that the 
peace of the world depended upon the terms on 
which these two men stood with regard to each 
other, were extremely desirous that this ar- 
rangement should be carried into eiFect. There 
was a law of the commonwealth forbidding the 
marriage of a widow within a specified period 
after the death of her husband. That period 
had not, in Octavia's case, yet expired. There 
was, however, so strong a desire that no ob- 
stacle should be allowed to prevent this proposed 
union, or even to occasion delay, that the law 
was altered expressly for this case, and Antony 
and Octavia were married. The empire was 
divided between Octavius and Antony, Octa- 
vius receiving the western portion as his share, 
while the eastern was assigned to Antony. 

It is not probable that Antony felt any very 
strong affection for his new wife, beautiful and 

B.C. 31.] The Battle of Actium. 259 

Octavia's influence over her husband and her brother 

gentle as she was. A man, in fact, who had 
led such a life as his had been, must have be- 
come by this time incapable of any strong and 
pure attachment. He, however, was pleased 
with the novelty of his acquisition, and seemed 
to forget for a time the loss of Cleopatra. He 
remained with Octavia a year. After that he 
went away on certain military enterprises which 
kept him some time from her. He returned 
again, and again he went away. All this time 
Octavia's influence over him and over her 
brother was of the most salutary and excel- 
lent character. She soothed their animosities, 
quieted their suspicions and jealousies, and at 
one time, when they were on the brink of open 
war, she effected a reconciliation between them 
by the most courageous and energetic, and at 
the same time, gentle and unassuming efforts. 
At the time of this danger she was with her 
husband in Greece ; but she persuaded him to 
send her to her brother at Rome, saying that 
she was confident that she could arrange a set- 
tlement of the difficulties impending. Antony 
allowed her to go. She proceeded to Rome, and 
procured an interview with her brother in the 
presence of his two principal officers of state. 
Here she pleaded her husband's cause with 

260 Cleopatra. [B.C. 31. 

Octavia pleads for Antony. Difficulties settled. 

tears in her eyes ; she defended his conduct, ex- 
plained what seemed to be against him, and en- 
treated her brother not to take such a course 
as should cast her down from being the hap- 
piest of women to being the most miserable. 
"Consider the circusmtances of my case," said 
she. " The eyes of the world are upon me. Of 
the two most powerful men in the world, I am 
the wife of one and the sister of another. If 
you allow rash counsels to go on and war to 
ensue, I am hopelessly ruined ; for, whichever is 
conquered, my husband or my brother, my own 
happiness will be for ever gone." 

Octavius sincerely loved his sister, and he 
was so far softened by her entreaties that he 
consented to appoint an interview^ with Antony 
in order to see if their difficulties could be set- 
tled. This interview was accordingly held. 
The two generals came to a river, where, at the 
opposite banks, each embarked in a boat, and, 
being rowed out toward each other, they met in 
the middle of the stream. A conference ensued, 
at which all the questions at issue were, for a 
time at least, very happily arranged. 

Antony, however, after a time, began to be- 
come tired of his wife, and to sigh for Cleopatra 
once more. He left Octavia at Rome and pro- 

B.C. 31.] The Battle of Actium. 261 

Antony tired of his wife. He goes to Egypt 

ceeded to the eastward, under pretense of at- 
tending to the affairs of that portion of the em- 
pire ; but, instead of doing this, he went to Al- 
exandria, and there renewed again his former 
intimacy with the Egyptian queen. 

Octavius was very indignant at this. His 
former hostility to Antony, which had been in 
a measure appeased by the kind influence of 
Octavia, now broke forth anew, and was height- 
ened by the feeling of resentment naturally 
awakened by his sister's wrongs. Public sen- 
timent in Rome, too, was setting very strong- 
ly against Antony. Lampoons were written 
against him to ridicule him and Cleopatra, and 
the most decided censures were passed upon hia 
conduct. Octavia was universally beloved, and 
the sympathy which was every where felt for 
her increased and heightened very much the 
popular indignation which was felt against th^' 
man who could wrong so deeply such sweetness, 
and gentleness, and affectionate fidelity as hers. 

After remaining for some time in Alexandria, 
and renewing his connection and intimacy with 
Cleopatra, Antony went away again, crossing 
the sea into Asia, with the intention of pros- 
ecuting certain military undertakings there 
which imperiously demanded his attention. 

262 Cleopatra. [B.C. 81. 

Antony again with Cleopatra. Effect on his character. 

His plan was to return as soon as possible to 
Egypt after the object of his expedition should 
be accomplished. He found, however, that he 
could not bear even a temporary absence from 
Cleopatra. His mind dwelled so much upon 
her, and upon the pleasures which he had en- 
joyed with her in Egypt, and he longed so 
much to see her again, that he was wholly un- 
fit for the discharge of his duties in the camp. 
He became timid, inefficient, and remiss, and 
almost every thing that he undertook ended 
disastrously. The army, who understood per- 
fectly well the reason of their commander's re- 
missness and consequent ill fortune, were ex- 
tremely indignant at his conduct, and the camp 
was filled with suppressed murmurs and com- 
plaints. Antony, however, like other persons 
in his situation, was blind to all these indica- 
tions of dissatisfaction ; probably he would have 
disregarded them if he had observed them. At 
length, finding that he could bear his absence 
from his mistress no longer, he set out to march 
across the country, in the depth of the winter, 
to the sea-shore, to a point where he had sent 
for Cleopatra to come to join him. The army 
endured incredible hardships and exposures in 
this march. When Antony had once com- 

B.C.31.] The Battle of Actium. 263 

The march to Sidon. SuflFering of the troops. 

menced the journey, he was so impatient to get 
forward that he compelled his troops to advance 
with a rapidity greater than their strength 
would bear. They were, besides, not provided 
with proper tents or with proper supplies of pro- 
vision. They were often obliged, therefore, aft- 
er a long and fatiguing march during the day, 
to bivouac at night in the open air among the 
mountains, with scanty means of appeasing 
their hunger, and very little shelter from the 
cold rain, or from the storms of driving snow. 
Eight thousand men died on this march, from 
cold, fatigue, and exposure ; a greater sacrifice, 
perhaps, than had ever been made before to the 
mere ardor and impatience of a lover. 

When Antony reached the shore, he advanced 
to a certain sea-port, near Sidon, where Cleopa- 
tra was to land. At the time of his arrival but 
a small part of his army was left, and the few 
men that survived were in a miserably desti- 
tute condition. Antony's eagerness to see Cle- 
opatra became more and more excited as the 
time drew nigh. She did not come so soon as 
he had expected, and during the delay he seem- 
ed to pine away under the influence of love and 
sorrow. He was silent, absent-minded, and 
sad. He had no thoughts for any thing but the 

264 Cleopatra. [B.C. 31. 

Arrival of Cleopatra, She brings supplies for the army.. 

coming of Cleopatra, and felt no interest in any 
other plans. He watched for her incessantly, 
and would sometimes leave his place at the ta- 
ble, in the midst of the supper, and go down 
alone to the shore, where he would stand gaz- 
ing out upon the sea, and saying mournfully to 
himself, " Why does not she come ?" The ani- 
mosity and the ridicule which these things 
awakened against him, on the part of the army, 
were extreme ; but he was so utterly infatuated 
that he disregarded all the manifestations of 
public sentiment around him, and continued to 
allow his mind to be wholly engrossed with the 
single idea of Cleopatra's coming. 

She arrived at last. She brought a great 
supply of clothes and other necessaries for the 
use of Antony's army, so that her coming not 
only gratified his love, but afforded him, also, a 
very essential relief, in respect to the military 
difficulties in which he was involved. 

After some time spent in the enjoyment of 
the pleasure which being thus reunited to Cle- 
opatra afforded him, Antony began again to 
think of the affairs of his government, which 
every month more and more imperiously de- 
manded his attention. He began to receive ur- 
gent calls from various quarters, urging him to 

B.C. 31.] The Battle of Actium. 265 

Octavia intercedes for Antony. She brings him re-enforcements, 

action. In the mean time, Octavia — who had 
been all this while waiting in distress and anx- 
iety at Rome, hearing continually the most 
gloomy accounts of her husband's affairs, and 
the most humiliating tidings in respect to his 
infatuated devotion to Cleopatra — resolved to 
make one more effort to save him. She inter- 
ceded with her brother to allow her to raise 
troops and to collect supplies, and then proceed 
to the eastward to re-enforce him. Octavius 
consented to this. He, in fact, assisted Octavia 
in making her preparations. It is said, how- 
ever, that lie was influenced in this plan by his 
confident belief that this noble attempt of his 
sister to reclaim her husband would fail, and 
that, by the failure of it, Antony would be put 
in the wrong, in the estimation of the Roman 
people, more absolutely and hopelessly than 
ever, and that the way would* thus be prepared 
for his complete and final destruction. 

Octavia was rejoiced to obtain her brother's 
aid to her undertaking, whatever the motive 
might be which induced him to afford it. She 
accordingly levied a considerable body of troops, 
raised a large sum of money, provided clothes, 
and tents, and military stores for the army ; and 
when all was ready, she left Italy and put to 

266 Cleopatra. [B.C. 31. 

Cleopatra's alarm. Her arts. 

sea, having previously dispatched a messenger 
to her husband to inform him that she was 

Cleopatra began now to be afraid that she 
was to lose Antony again, and she at once be- 
gan to resort to the usual artifices employed in 
such cases, in order to retain her power over 
him. She said nothing, but assumed the ap- 
pearance of one pining under the influence of 
some secret suffering or sorrow. She contrived 
to be often surprised in tears. In such cases 
she would hastily brush her tears away, and as- 
sume a countenance of smiles and good humor, 
as if making every effort to be happy, though 
really oppressed with a heavy burden of anxiety 
and grief. When Antony was near her she 
would seem overjoyed at his presence, and gaze 
upon him with an expression of the most de- 
voted fondness. When absent from him, she 
spent her time alone, always silent and deject- 
ed, and often in tears ; and she took care that 
the secret sorrows and sufferings that she en- 
dured should be duly made known to Antony, 
and that he should understand that they were 
all occasioned by her love for him, and by the 
danger which she apprehended that he was 
about to leave her. 

B.C. 81.] The Battle of Actium. 267 

Cleopatra's secret agents. Their representations to Antony. 

The friends and secret agents of Cleopatra, 
who reported these things to Antony, made, 
moreover, direct representations to him, for the 
purpose of inclining his mind in her favor. They 
had, in fact, the astonishing audacity to argue 
that Cleopatra's claims upon Antony for a con- 
tinuance of his love were paramount to those 
of Octavia. She, that is, Octavia, had been his 
wife, they said, only for a very short time. Cle- 
opatra had been most devotedly attached to him 
for many years. Octavia was married to him, 
they alleged, not under the impulse of love, but 
from political considerations alone, to please 
her brother, and to ratify and confirm a politi- 
cal league made with him. Cleopatra, on the 
other hand, had given herself up to him in the 
most absolute and unconditional manner, under 
the influence solely of a personal affection which 
she could not control. She had surrendered 
and sacrificed every thing to him. For him she 
had lost her good name, alienated the affections 
of her subjects, made herself the object of re- 
proach and censure to all mankind, and now 
she had left her native land to come and join 
him in his adverse fortunes. Considering how 
much she had done, and suffered, and sacrificed 
for his sake, it would be extreme and unjusti- 

268 Cleopatra. [B.C. ol. 

Cleopatra's success. Antony's message to Octavia, 

fiable cruelty in him to forsake her now. She 
never would survive such an abandonment. 
Her whole soul was so wrapped up in him, that 
she would pine away and die if he were now to 
forsake her. 

Antony was distressed and agitated beyond 
measure by the entanglements in which he 
found that he was involved. His duty, his in- 
clination perhaps, certainly his ambition, and 
every dictate of prudence and policy, required 
that he should break away from these snares at 
once and go to meet Octavia. But the spell 
that bound him was too mighty to be .dissolved. 
He yielded to Cleopatra's sorrows and tears. 
He dispatched a messenger to Octavia, who had 
by this time reached Athens, in Greece, direct- 
ing her not to come any farther. Octavia, who 
seemed incapable of resentment or anger against 
her husband, sent back to ask what she should 
do with the troops, and money, and the military 
stores which she was bringing. Antony direct- 
ed her to leave them in Greece. Octavia did 
so, and mournfully returned to her home. 

As soon as she arrived at Rome, Octavius, 
her brother, whose indignation was now thor- 
oughly aroused at the baseness of Antony, sent 
to his sister to say that she must leave Antony's 

B.C.31.] The Battle of Actium. 269 

Devotion of Octavia. Indignation against Antony, 

house and come to him. A proper self-respect, 
he said, forbade her remaining any longer under 
the roof of such a man. Octavia replied that 
she would not leave her husband's house. That 
house was her post of duty, whatever her hus- 
band might do, and there she would remain. 
She accordingly retired within the precincts of 
her old home, and devoted herself in patient and 
uncomplaining sorrow to the care of the family 
and the children. Among these children was 
one young son of Antony's, born during his 
marriage with her predecessor Fulvia. In the 
mean time, while Octavia was thus faithfully 
though mournfully fulfilling her duties as wife 
and mother, in her husband's house at Rome, 
Antony himself had gone with Cleopatra to 
Alexandria, and was abandoning himself once 
more to a life of guilty pleasure there. The 
greatness of mind which this beautiful and de- 
voted wife thus displayed, attracted the admi- 
ration of all mankind. It produced, however, 
one other effect, which Octavia must have great- 
ly deprecated. It aroused a strong and univer- 
sal feeling of indignation against the unworthy 
object toward whom this extraordinary magna- 
nimity was displayed. 

In the mean time, Antony gave himself up 

270 Cleopatra. [B.C. 31 

Measures of Antony. Accusations against him. 

wholly to Cleopatra's influence and control, and 
managed all the affah's of the Roman empire 
in the East in the way best fitted to promote 
her aggrandizement and honor. He made Alex- 
andria his capital, celebrated triumphs there^ 
arranged ostentatious expeditions into Asia and 
Syria with Cleopatra and her train, gave her 
whole provinces as presents, and exalted her 
two sons, Alexander and Ptolemy, children born 
during the period of his first acquaintance with 
her, to positions of the highest rank and station, 
as his own acknowledged sons. The conse- 
quences of these and similar measures at Rome 
were fatal to Antony's character and standing. 
Octavius reported every thing to the Roman 
senate and people, and made Antony's misgov- 
ernment and his various misdemeanors the 
ground of the heaviest accusations against him. 
Antony, hearing of these things, sent his agents 
to Rome and made accusations against Octa- 
vius ; but these counter accusations were of no 
avail. Public sentiment was very strong and 
decided against him at the capital, and Octa- 
vius began to preoare for war. 

Antony percei\ed that he must prepare to 
defend himself. Cleopatra entered into the 
plans which he formed for this purpose \ '♦^h 

B.C.31.] The Battle of Actium. 271 

Antony's preparations. Assistance of Cleopatra. 

great ardor. Antony began to levy troops, and 
collect and equip galleys and ships of war, and 
to make requisitions of money and military 
stores from all the eastern provinces and king- 
doms. Cleopatra put all the resources of Egypt 
at his disposal. She furnished him with im- 
mense sums of money, and with an inexhaust- 
ible supply of corn, which she procured for this 
purpose from her dominions in the valley of the 
Nile. The various divisions of the immense ar- 
mament which was thus provided for were or- 
dered to rendezvous at Ephesus, w^here Antony 
and Cleopatra were awaiting to receive them, 
having proceeded there when their arrange- 
ments in Egypt w^ere completed, and they were 
ready to commence the campaign. 

When all was ready for the expedition to set 
sail from Ephesus, it was Antony's judgment 
that it would be best for Cleopatra to return to 
Egypt, and leave him to go forth with the fleet 
to meet Octavius alone. Cleopatra was, how- 
ever, determined not to go away. She did not 
dare to leave Antony at all to himself, for fear 
that in some way or other a peace would be 
effected between himself and Octavius, which 
would result in his returning to Octavia and 
abandoning her. She accordingly contrived to 

272 Cleopatra. [B.C. 31 

Canidius bribed. His advice in regard to Cleopatra 

persuade Antony to retain her with him, by 
bribing his chief counselor to advise him to do 
so. His counselor's name was Canidius. Ca- 
nidius, having received Cleopatra's money, 
while yet he pretended to be wholly disinter- 
ested in his advice, represented to Antony that 
it would not be reasonable to send Cleopatra 
away, and deprive her of all participation in the 
glory of the war, when she was defraying so 
large a part of the expense of it. Besides, a 
large portion of the army consisted of Egyptian 
troops, who would feel discouraged and disheart- 
ened if Cleopatra were to leave them, and would 
probably act far less efficiently in the conflict 
than they would do if animated by the presence 
of their queen. Then, moreover, such a woman 
as Cleopatra was not to be considered, as many 
women would be, an embarrassment and a 
source of care to a military expedition which 
she might join, but a very efficient counselor 
and aid to it. «She was, he said, a very saga- 
cious, energetic, and powerful queen, accus- 
tomed to the command of armies and to the 
management of affairs of state, and her aid in 
the conduct of the expedition might be expected 
to conduce very materially to its success. 

.A.ntony was easily won by such pejsuasions 

B.C. 31.] The Battle of Actium. 273 

The fleet at Samoa. Antony's infatuation. 

as these, and it was at length decided that Cle- 
opatra should accompany him. 

Antony then ordered the fleet to move for- 
ward to the island of Samos.* Here it was 
brought to anchor and remained for some time, 
waiting for the coming in of new re-enforce- 
ments, and for the completion of the other ar- 
rangements. Antony, as if becoming more and 
more infatuated as he approached the brink of 
his ruin, spent his time while the expedition 
remained at Samos, not in maturing his plans 
and perfecting his arrangements for the tremen- 
dous conflict which was approaching, but in fes- 
tivities, games, revelings, and every species of 
riot and dissolute excess. This, however, is not 
surprising. Men almost always, when in a sit- 
uation analogous to his, fly to similar means of 
protecting themselves, in some small degree, 
from the pangs of remorse, and from the fore- 
bodings which stand ready to terrify and tor- 
ment them at every instant in which these 
gloomy specters are not driven away by intoxi- 
cation and revelry. At least Antony found it 
so. Accordingly, an immense company of play- 
ers, tumblers, fools, jesters, and mountebanks 
were ordered to assemble at Samos, and to de- 

* See map for the situation of Ephesus and of 


274 Cleopatra. [B.C.31. 

Riot and revelry. " Antony and Cleopatra at Athens, 

vote themselves with all zeal to the amusement 
of Antony's court. The island was one uni- 
versal scene of riot and revelry. People were 
astonished at such celebrations and displays, 
wholly unsuitable, as they considered them, to 
the occasion. If such are the rejoicings, said 
they, which Antony celebrates before going into 
the battle, what festivities will he contrive on 
his return, joyous enough to express his pleas- 
ure if he shall gain the victory ? 

After a time, Antony and Cleopatra, with a 
magnificent train of attendants, left Samos, 
and, passing across the ^gean Sea, landed in 
Greece, and advanced to Athens ; while the 
fleet, proceeding westward from Samos, passed 
around Tsenarus, the southern promontory of 
Greece, and then moved northward along the 
western coast of the peninsula. Cleopatra wish- 
ed to go to Athens for a special reason. It was 
there that Octavia had stopped on her journey 
toward her husband with re-enforcements and 
aid; and while she was there, the people of 
Athens, pitying her sad condition, and admir- 
ing the noble spirit of mind which she displayed 
in her misfortunes, had paid her great attention, 
and during her stay among them had bestowed 
upon her many honors. Cleopatra now wished 

B.C. 41.] The Battle of Actium. 275 

Ostentation of Cleopatra. Honors bestowed on her. 

to go to the same place, and to triumph over 
her rival there, by making so great a display of 
her wealth and magnificence, and of her ascend- 
ency over the mind of Antony, as should en- 
tirely transcend and outshine the more unas- 
suming pretensions of Octavia. She was not 
willing, it seems, to leave to the unhappy wife 
whom she had so cruelly wronged even the pos- 
session of a place in the hearts of the people of 
this foreign city, but must go and enviously 
strive to efface the impression which injured 
innocence had made, by an ostentatious exhibi- 
tion of the triumphant prosperity of her own 
shameless wickedness. She succeeded well in 
her plans. The people of Athens were amazed 
and bewildered at the immense magnificence 
that Cleopatra exhibited before them. She dis- 
tributed vast sums of money among the people. 
The city, in return, decreed to her the most ex- 
alted honors. They sent a solemn embassy to 
her to present her with these decrees. Antony 
himself, in the character of a citizen of Athens, 
was one of the embassadors. Cleopatra receive 
ed the deputation at her palace. The reception 
was attended with the most splendid and im- 
posing ceremonies. 

One would have supposed that Cleopatra's 

276 Cleopatra. [B.C. 31. 

Baseness of Antony. Approach of Octavius. 

cruel and unnatural hostility to Octavia might 
now have been satisfied ; but it was not. An- 
tony, while he was at Athens, and doubtless at 
Cleopatra's instigation, sent a messenger to 
Rome with a notice of divorcement to Octavia, 
and with an order that she should leave his 
house. Octavia obeyed. She went forth from 
her home, taking the children with her, and bit- 
terly lamenting her cruel destiny. 

In the mean time, while all these events had 
been transpiring in the East, Octavius had been 
making his preparations for the coming crisis, 
and was now advancing with a powerful fleet 
across the sea. He was armed with authority 
from the Roman senate and people, for he had 
obtained from them a decree deposing Antony 
from his power. The charges made against 
him all related to misdemeanors and offenses 
arising out of his connection with Cleopatra. 
Octavius contrived to get possession of a will 
which Antony had written before leaving Rome, 
and which he had placed there in what he sup- 
posed a very sacred place of deposit. The cus- 
todians who had it in charge replied to Octa- 
vius, when he demanded it, that they would not 
give it to him, but if he wished to take it they 
yv^ould not binder him. Octavius then took the 


B.C. 31.] The Battle op Actium. 277 

Antony's will. Charges against him. 

will, and read it to the Roman senate. It pro- 
vided, among other things, that at his death, if 
his death should happen at Rome, his body- 
should be sent to Alexandria to be given to Cle- 
opatra ; and it evinced in other ways a degree 
of subserviency and devotedness to the Egyp- 
tian queen which was considered wholly un- 
worthy of a Roman chief magistrate. Antony 
was accused, too, of having plundered cities and 
provinces to make presents to Cleopatra ; of 
having sent a library of two hundred thousand 
volumes to her from Pergamus, to replace the 
one which Julius Caesar had accidentally burn- 
ed ; of having raised her sons, ignoble as their 
birth was, to high places of trust and power in 
the Roman government, and of having in many 
ways compromised the dignity of a Roman offi- 
cer by his unworthy conduct in reference to her. 
He used, for example, when presiding at a ju- 
dicial tribunal, to receive love-letters sent him 
from Cleopatra, and then at once turn off his 
attention from the proceedings going forward 
before him to read the letters.* Sometimes he 

* These letters, in accordance with the scale of expense 
and extravagance on which Cleopatra determined that eveiy 
thing relating to herself and Antony should be done, were 
engraved on tablets made of onyx, or crystal, or other hard 
and precious stones. 

278 Cleopatra. [B.C. 31. 

Antony's neglect of his duties. Meeting of the fleets. 

did this when sitting in the chair of state, giv- 
ing audience to embassadors and princes. Cle- 
opatra probably sent these letters in at such 
times under the influence of a wanton disposi- 
tion to show her power. At one time, as Oc- 
tavius said in his arguments before the Roman 
senate, Antony was hearing a cause of the great- 
est importance, and during a time in the prog- 
ress of the cause when one of the principal or- 
ators of the city was addressing him, Cleopatra 
came passing by, when Antony suddenly arose, 
and, leaving the court without any ceremony, 
ran out to follow her. These and a thousand 
similar tales exhibited Antony in so odious a 
light, that his friends forsook his cause, and his 
enemies gained a complete triumph. The de- 
cree was passed against him, and Octavius was 
authorized to carry it into effect ; and accord- 
ingly, while Antony, with his fleet and army, 
was moving westward from Samos and the 
^gean Sea, Octavius was coming eastward 
and southward down the Adriatic to meet him. 
In process of time, after various maneuvers 
and delays, the two armaments came into the 
vicinity of each other at a place called Actium, 
which will be found upon the map on the west- 
ern coast of Epirus, north of Greece. Both of 


B.C. 31.] The Battle of Actium. 279 

Opinions at the council. Cleopatra's wishes. 

the commanders had powerful fleets at sea, and 
both had great armies upon the land. Antony 
was strongest in land troops, but his fleet was 
inferior to that of Octavius, and he was him- 
self inclined to remain on the land and fight the 
principal battle there. But Cleopatra would 
not consent to this. She urged him to give 
Octavius battle at sea. The motive which in- 
duced her to do this has been supposed to be 
her wish to provide a more sure way of escape 
in case of an unfavorable issue to the conflict. 
She thought that in her galleys she could make 
sail at once across the sea to Alexandria in 
case of defeat, whereas she knew not what 
would become of her if beaten at the head of an 
army on the land. The ablest counselors and 
chief ofl[icers in the army urged Antony very 
strongly not to trust himself to the sea. To all 
their arguments and remonstrances, however, 
Antony turned a deaf ear. Cleopatra must be 
allowed to have her way. \ 

On the morning of the battle, when the ships 
were drawn up in array, Cleopatra held the 
command of a division of fifty or sixty Egyp- 
tian vessels, which were all completely manned, 
and well equipped with masts and sails. She 
took good care to have every thing in perfect 

280 Cleopatra. [B.C. 31 

Battle of Actium. Flight of Cleopatra 

order for flight, in case flight should prove to be 
necessary. With these ships she took a station 
in reserve, and for a time remained there a 
quiet witness of the battle. The ships of Oc- 
tavius advanced to the attack of those of Anto- 
ny, and the men fought from deck to deck with 
spears, boarding-pikes, flaming darts, and every 
other destructive missile which the military art 
had then devised. Antony's ships had to con- 
tend against great disadvantages. They were 
not only outnumbered by those of Octavius, 
but were far surpassed by them in the efficien- 
cy with which they were manned and armed. 
Still, it was a very obstinate conflict. Cleopa- 
tra, however, did not wait to see how it was to 
be finally decided. As Antony's forces did not 
immediately gain the victory, she soon began to 
yield to her fears in respect to the result, and, 
finally, fell into a panic and resolved to fly. 
She ordered the oars to be manned and the sails 
to be hoisted, and then forcing her way through 
a portion of the fleet that was engaged in the 
contest, and throwing the vessels into confusion 
as she passed, she succeeded in getting to sea, 
and then pressed on, under full sail, down the 
coast to the southward. Antony, as soon as he 
perceived that she was going, abandoning every 

B.C.31.] The Battle of Actium. 281 

Antony follows Cleopatra. He gains her galley. 

other thought, and impelled by his insane de- 
votedness to her, hastily called up a galley of 
five banks of oars, and, leaping on board of it, 
ordered the oarsmen to pull with all their force 
after Cleopatra's flying squadron. 

Cleopatra, looking back from the deck of hei 
vessel, saw this swift galley pressing on toward 
her. She raised a signal at the stern of the 
vessel which she was in, that Antony might 
know for which of the fifty flying ships he was 
to steer. Guided by the signal, Antony came 
up to the vessel, and the sailors hoisted him up 
the side and helped him in. Cleopatra had, 
however, disappeared. Overcome with shame 
and confusion, she did not dare, it seems, to 
meet the look of the wretched victim of her arts 
whom she had now irretrievably ruined. An- 
tony did not seek her. He did not speak a 
word. He went forward to the prow of the ship, 
and, throwing himself down there alone, press- 
ed his head between his hands, and seemed stun- 
ned and stupefied, and utterly overwhelmed 
with horror and despair. 

He was, however, soon aroused from his stu- 
por by an alarm raised on board his galley that 
they were pursued. He rose from his seat, 
seized a spear, and, on ascending to the quarter- 

282 Cleopatra. [B.C. 31. 

Antony pursued. A severe conflict. 

deck, saw that there were a number of small 
light boats, full of men and of arms, coming up 
behind them, and gaining rapidly upon his gal- 
ley. Antony, now free for a moment from his 
enchantress's sway, and acting under the im- 
pulse of his own indomitable boldness and de- 
cision, instead of urging the oarsmen to press 
forward more rapidly in order to make good 
their escape, ordered the helm to be put about, 
and thus, turning the galley around, he faced 
his pursuers, and drove his ship into the midst 
of them. A violent conflict ensued, the din and 
confusion of which was increased by the shocks 
and collisions between the boats and the galley. 
In the end, the boats were beaten ofi', all ex- 
cepting one : that one kept still hovering near, 
and the commander of it, w^ho stood upon the 
deck, poising his spear with an aim at Antony, 
and seeking eagerly an opportunity to throw it, 
seemed by his attitude and the expression of 
his countenance to be animated by some pecu- 
liarly bitter feeling of hostility and hate. An- 
tony asked him who he was, that dared so 
fiercely to threaten him. The man replied by 
giving his name, and saying that he came to 
avenge the death of his father. It proved that 
he was the son of a man whom Antonv had at 

B.C.31.] The Battle of Actium. 283 

The avenger of a father, Antony's anguish. 

a previous time, on some account or other, 
caused to be beheaded. 

There followed an obstinate contest between 
Antony and this fierce assailant, in the end of 
which the latter was beaten off. The boats 
then, having succeeded in making some prizes 
from Antony's fleet, though they had failed in 
capturing Antony himself, gave up the pursuit 
and returned. Antony then went back to his 
place, sat down in the prow, buried his face in 
his hands, and sank into the same condition of 
hopeless distress and anguish as before. 

When husband and wife are overwhelmed 
with misfortune and suffering, each instinct- 
ively seeks a refuge in the sympathy and sup- 
port of the other. It is, however, far otherwise 
with such connections as that of Antony and 
Cleopatra. Conscience, which remains calm 
and quiet in prosperity and sunshine, rises up 
with sudden and unexpected violence as soon 
as the hour of calamity comes ; and thus, in- 
stead of mutual comfort and help, each finds in 
the thoughts of the other only the means of 
adding the horrors of remorse to the anguish of 
disappointment and despair. So extreme was 
Antony's distress, that for three days he and 
Cleopatra neither saw nor spoke to each other. 

284 Cleopatra. [B.C. 31. 

Antony and Cleopatra shun each other. Arrival at Taenarus. 

She was overwhelmed with confusion and cha- 
grin, and he was in such a condition of mental 
excitement that she did not dare to approach 
him. In a word, reason seemed to have wholly 
lost its sway — his mind, in the alternations of 
his insanity, rising sometimes to fearful excite- 
ment, in paroxysms of uncontrollable rage, and 
then sinking again for a time into the stupor 
of despair. 

In the mean time, the ships were passing 
down as rapidly as possible on the western coast 
of Greece. "When they reached Taenarus, the 
southern promontory of the peninsula, it was 
necessary to pause and consider what was to be 
done. Cleopatra's women went to Antony and 
attempted to quiet and calm him. They brought 
him food. They persuaded him to see Cleopatra. 
A great number of merchant ships from the 
ports along the coast gathered around Antony's 
little fleet and offered their services. His cause, 
they said, was by no means desperate. The 
army on the land had not been beaten. It was 
not even certain that his fleet had been con- 
quered. They endeavored thus to revive the 
ruined commander's sinking courage, and to 
urge him to make a new effort to retrieve his 
fortunes. But all was in vain. Antony was 

B.C. 31.] The Battle of Actium. 285 

Antony and Cleopatra fly together to Egypt. 

sunk in a hopeless despondency. Cleopatra was 
determined on going to Egypt, and he must go 
too. He distributed what treasure remained 
at his disposal among his immediate followers 
and friends, and gave them advice about the 
means of concealing themselves until they could 
make peace with Octavius. Then, giving up 
all as lost, he followed Cleopatra across the sea 
to Alexandria. 

286 Cleopatra. [B.C. 30. 

Infatuation of Antony. His early character. 

Chapter XII. 

The End of Cleopatra. 

FllHE case of Mark Antony affords one of the 
-*- most extraordinary examples of the power 
of unlawful love to lead its deluded and infatu- 
ated victim into the very jaws of open and rec- 
ognized destruction that history records. Cases 
similar in character occur hy thousands in com- 
mon life ; but Antony's, though perhaps not 
more striking in itself than a great multitude 
of others have been, is the most conspicuous in- 
stance that has ever been held up to the obser- 
vation of mankind. 

In early life, Antony was remarkable, as we 
have already seen, for a certain savage rugged- 
ness of character, and for a stern and indomita- 
ble recklessness of will, so great that it seemed 
impossible that any thing human should be able 
to tame him. He was under the control, too, 
of an ambition so lofty and aspiring that it ap- 
peared to know no bounds ; and yet we find him 
taken possession of, in the very midst of his ca- 
reer, and in the height of his prosperity and 

B.C.30.] The End of Cleopatra. 287 

Powerful influence of Cleopatra over Antony. 

success, by a woman, and so subdued by her 
arts and fascinations as to yield himself wholly 
to her guidance, and allow himself to be led 
about by her entirely at her will. She displaces 
whatever there might have been that was noble 
and generous in his heart, and substitutes there- 
for her own principles of malice and cruelty. 
She extinguishes all the fires of his ambition, 
originally so magnificent in its aims that the 
world seemed hardly large enough to afford it 
scope, and instead of this lofty passion, fills his 
soul with a love of the lowest, vilest, and most 
ignoble pleasures. She leads him to betray 
every public trust, to alienate from himself all 
the affections of his countrymen, to repel most 
cruelly the kindness and devotedness of a beau- 
tiful and faithful wife, and, finally, to expel this 
wife and all of his own legitimate family from 
his house ; and now, at last, she conducts him 
away in a most cowardly and ignoble flight 
from the field of his duty as a soldier — he know- 
ing, all the time, that she is hurrying him to 
disgrace and destruction, and yet utterly with- 
out power to break from the control of his invis- 
ible chains. 

The indignation which Antony's base aban- 

288 Cleopatra, [B.C. 30. 

Indignation at Antony's conduct Plans of Cleopatra. 

donment of his fleet and army at the battle of 
Actium excited, over all that part of the empire 
which had been under his command, was ex- 
treme. There was not the slightest possible 
excuse for such a flight. His army, in which 
his greatest strength, lay, remained unharmed, 
and even his fleet was not defeated. The ships 
continued the combat until night, notwithstand- 
ing the betrayal of their cause by their com- 
mander. They were at length, however, sub- 
dued. The army, also, being discouraged, and 
losing all motive for resistance, yielded too. In 
a very short time the whole country went over 
to Octavius's side. 

In the mean time, Cleopatra and Antony, on 
their first return to Egypt, were completely be- 
side themselves with terror. Cleopatra formed 
a plan for having all the treasures that she 
could save, and a certain number of galleys suf- 
ficient for the transportation of these treasures 
and a small company of friends, carried across 
the isthmus of Suez and launched upon the Red 
Sea, in order that she might escape in that di- 
rection, and find some remote hiding-place and 
safe retreat on the shores of Arabia or India, 
beyond the reach of Octavius's dreaded power. 
She actually commenced this undertaking, and 

B.C. 30.] The End of Cleopatra. 289 

Antony becomes a misanthrope. His hut on the island of Pharos. 

sent one or two of her galleys across the isth- 
mus ; but the Arabs seized them as soon as they 
reached their place of destination, and killed or 
captured the men that had them in charge, so 
that this desperate scheme was soon abandoned. 
She and Antony then finally concluded to estab- 
lish themselves at Alexandria, and made prep- 
aration, as well as they could, for defending 
themselves against Octavius there. 

Antony, when the first effects of his panic 
subsided, began to grow mad with vexation and 
resentment against all mankind. He determ- 
ined that he would have nothing to do with Cle- 
opatra or with any of her friends, but w^ent off 
in a fit of sullen rage, and built a hermitage in 
a lonely place on the island of Pharos, where he 
lived for a time, cursing his folly and his wretch- 
ed fate, and uttering the bitterest invectives 
against all who had been concerned in it. Here 
tidings came continually in, informing him of 
the defection of one after another of his armies, 
of the fall of his provinces in Greece and Asia 
Minor, and of the irresistible progress which 
Octavius was now making toward universal do- 
minion. The tidings of these disasters coming 
incessantly upon him kept him in a continual 
fever of resentment and rage. 

^90 Cleopatra. [B.C. 30. 

Antony's reconciliation with Cleopatra. Scenes of revelry. 

At last he became tired of his misanthropic 
solitude, a sort of reconciliation ensued between 
himself and Cleopatra, and he went back again 
to the city. Here he joined himself once more 
to Cleopatra, and, collecting together what re- 
mained of their joint resources, they plunged 
again into a life of dissipation and vice, with 
the vain attempt to drown in mirth and wine 
the bitter regrets and the anxious forebodings 
which filled their souls. They joined with them 
a company of revelers as abandoned as them- 
selves, and strove very hard to disguise and con- 
ceal their cares in their forced and unnatural 
gayety. They could not, however, accomplish 
this purpose. Octavius was gradually advan- 
cing in his progress, and they knew very well 
that the time of his dreadful reckoning with 
them must soon come ; nor was there any place 
on earth in which they could look with any 
hope of finding a refuge in it from his vindictive 

Cleopatra, warned by dreadful presentiments 
of what would probably at last be her fate, 
amused herself in studying the nature of pois- 
ons — not theoretically, but practically — making 
experiments with them on wretched prisoners 
and captives whom she compelled to take them, 

B.C.30.] The End of Cleopatra. 291 

Cleopatra makes a collection of poisons. Her experiments with them. 

in order that she and Antony might see the ef- 
fects which they produced. She madb a collec- 
tion of all the poisons which she could procure, 
and administered portions of them all, that she 
might see which were sudden and which were 
slow in their effects, and also learn which pro- 
duced the greatest distress and suffering, and 
which, on the other hand, only benumbed and 
stupefied the faculties, and thus extinguished 
life with the least infliction of pain. These ex- 
periments were not confined to such vegetable 
and mineral poisons as could be mingled with 
the food or administered in a potion. Cleopa- 
tra took an equal interest in the effects of the 
bite of venomous serpents and reptiles. She 
procured specimens of all these animals, and 
tried them upon her prisoners, causing the men 
to be stung and bitten by them, and then watch- 
ing the effects. These investigations were made, 
not directly with a view to any practical use 
which she was to make of the knowledge thus 
acquired, but rather as an agreeable occupation, 
to divert her mind, and to amuse Antony and 
her guests. The variety in the forms and ex- 
pressions which the agony of her poisoned vic- 
tims assumed — their writhings, their cries, their 
coftvulsions, and the distortions of their features 

292 Cleopatra. [B.C. 30. 

Antony's suspicions. Cleopatra's stratagem. 

when struggling with death, furnished exactly 
the kind and degree of excitement which she 
needed to occupy and amuse her mind. 

Antony was not entirely at ease, however, 
during the progress of these terrible experi- 
ments. His foolish and childish fondness foi 
Cleopatra was mingled with jealousy, suspicion, 
and distrust ; and he was so afraid that Cleo- 
patra might secretly poison him, that he would 
never take any food or wine without requiring 
that she should taste it before him. At leiTgth, 
one day, Cleopatra caused the petals of some 
flowers to be poisoned, and then had the flow- 
ers woven into the cliaplet which Antony was 
to wear at supper. In the midst of the feast, 
she pulled off the leaves of the flowers from her 
own chaplet and put them playfully into her 
wine, and then proposed that Antony should do 
the same with his chaplet, and that they should 
then drink the wine, tinctured, as it would be, 
with, the color and the perfume of the flowers. 
Antony entered very readily into this proposal, 
and when he was about to drink the wine, she 
arrested his hand, and told him that it was pois- 
oned. " You see now," said she, " how vain it 
is for you to watch against me. If it w^ere pos- 
sible for me to live without you, how easy it 

B.C. 30.] The End of Cleopatra. 298 

The bite of the asp. Cleopatra's tomb. 

would be for me to devise ways and means to 
kill you." Then, to prove that her words were 
true, she ordered one of the servants to drink 
Antony's wine. He did so, and died before 
their sight in dreadful agony. 

The experiments which Cleopatra thus made 
on the nature and effects of poison were not, 
however, wholly without practical result. Cle- 
opatra learned from them, it is said, that the 
bj+^, of the asp was the easiest and least painful 
'^T )de of death. The effect of the venom of that 
animal appeared to her to be the lulling of the 
sensorium into a lethargy or stupor, which soon 
ended in death, without the intervention of pain. 
This knowledge she seems to have laid up in 
her mind for future use. 

The thoughts of Cleopatra appear, in fact, to 
have been much disposed, at this time, to flow 
in gloomy channels, for she occupied herself a 
great deal in building for herself a sepulchral 
monument in a certain sacred portion of the 
city. This monument had, in fact, been com- 
menced many years ago, in accordance with a 
custom prevailing among Egyptian sovereigns, 
of expending a portion of their revenues during 
their life-time in building and decorating their 
own tombs. Cleopatra now turned her mind 

294 Cleopatra. ^ [B.C. 30 

Progress of Octavius. Proposal of Antony. 

with new interest to her own mausoleum. She 
finished it, provided it with the strongest possi- 
ble bolts and bars, and, in a word, seemed to be 
preparing it in all respects for occupation. 

In the mean time, Octavius, having made 
himself master of all the countries which had 
formerly been under Antony's sway, now ad- 
vanced, meeting none to oppose him, from Asia 
Minor into Syria, and from Syria toward Egypt. 
Antony and Cleopatra made one attempt, whi'^. 
he was thus advancing toward Alexandria, He 
avert the storm which was impending over them, 
by sending an embassage to ask for some terms 
of peace. Antony proposed, in this embassage, 
to give up every thing to his conqueror on con- 
dition that he might be permitted to retire un- 
molested with Cleopatra to Athens, and allowed 
to spend the remainder of their days there in 
peace ; and that the kingdom of Egypt might 
descend to their children. Octavius replied 
that he could not make any terms with Antony, 
though he was willing to consent to any thing 
that was reasonable in behalf of Cleopatra. The 
messenger who came back from Octavius with 
this reply spent some time in private inter- 
views with Cleopatra. This aroused Antony's 
jealousy and anger. He accordingly ordered 

B.C. 30.] The End of Cleopatra. 295 

Octavius at Pelusium. Cleopatra's treasures. 

the unfortunate messenger to be scourged and 
then sent back to Octavius, all lacerated with 
wounds, with orders to say to Octavius that if 
it displeased him to have one of his servants 
thus punished, he might revenge himself by- 
scourging a servant of Antony's, who was then, 
as it happened, in Octavius's power. 

The news at length suddenly arrived at Alex- 
andria that Octavius had appeared before Pe- 
lusium, and that the city had fallen into his 
hands. The next thing Antony and Cleopatra 
well knew would be, that they should see him 
at the gates of Alexandria. Neither Antony 
nor Cleopatra had any means of resisting his 
progress, and there was no place to which they 
could fly. Nothing was to be done but to await, 
in consternation and terror, the sure and inev- 
itable doom which was now so near. 

Cleopatra gathered together all her treasures 
and sent them to her tomb. These treasures 
consisted of great and valuable stores of gold, 
silver, precious stones, garments of the highest 
cost, and weapons, and vessels of exquisite 
workmanship and great value, the hereditary 
possessions of the Egyptian kings. She also 
sent to the mausoleum an immense quantity 
of flax, tow, torches, and other combustibles. 

296 Cleopatra. [B.C. 30. 

Fears of Octavius. He arrives at Alexandria. 

These she stored in the lower apartments of 
the monument, with the desperate determina- 
tion of burning herself and her treasures to- 
gether rather than to fall into the bands of the 

In the mean time, the army of Octavius 
steadily continued its march across the desert 
from Pelusium to Alexandria. On the way, 
Octavius learned, through the agents in com- 
munication with him from within the city, 
what were the arrangements which Cleopatra 
had made for the destruction of her treasure 
whenever the danger should become imminent 
of its falling into his hands. He w^as extremely 
unwilling that this treasure should be lost. Be- 
sides its intrinsic value, it was an object of im- 
mense importance to him to get possession of 
it for the purpose of carrying it to Rome as a 
trophy of his triumph. He accordingly sent 
secret messengers to Cleopatra, endeavoring to 
separate her from Antony, and to amuse her 
mind with the profession that he felt only friend- 
ship for her, and did not mean to do her any 
injury, being in pursuit of Antony only. These 
negotiations were continued from day to day 
while Octavius was advancing. At last tho 
Roman army reached Alexandria, and invested 
it on everv •'^ifle. 

B.C. 30.] The End of Cleopatra. 297 

The sally. The unfaithful captain. 

As soon as Octavius was established in his 
camp under the walls of the city, Antony 
planned a sally, and he executed ity in fact, 
with considerable energy and success. He is- 
sued suddenly from the gates, at the head of as 
strong a force as he could command, and at- 
tacked a body of Octavius's horsemen. He 
succeeded in driving these horsemen away from 
their position, but he was soon driven back in 
his turn, and compelled to retreat to the city, 
fighting as he fled, to beat back his pursuers. 
He was extremely elated at the success of this 
skirmish. He came to Cleopatra with a coun- 
tenance full of animation and pleasure, took her 
in his arms and kissed her, all accoutered for 
battle as he was, and boasted greatly of the ex- 
ploit which he had performed. He praised, too, 
in the highest terms, the valor of one of the 
officers who had gone out with him to the fight, 
and whom he had now brought to the palace to 
present to Cleopatra. Cleopatra rewarded the 
faithful captain's prowess with a magnificent 
suit of armor made of gold. Notwithstanding 
this reward, however, the man deserted Antony 
that very night, and went over to the enemy. 
Almost all of Antony's adherents were in the 
same state of mind. They would have gladly 

298 Cleopatra. [B.C. 30. 

Disaflfection of Antony's men. Desertion of the fleet 

gone over to the camp of Octavius, if they could 
have found an opportunity to do so. 

In fact, vi^hen the final battle v^^as fought, the 
fate of it was decided by a grand defection in 
the fleet, which went over in a body to the side 
of Octavius. Antony was planning the opera- 
tions of the day, and reconnoitering the move- 
ments of the enemy from an eminence which 
he occupied at the head of a body of foot soldiers 
— all the land forces that now remained to him 
— and looking off from the eminence on which 
he stood toward the harbor, he observed a move- 
ment among the galleys. They were going out 
to meet the ships of Octavius, which were ly- 
ing at anchor not very far from them. Antony 
supposed that his vessels were going to attack 
those of the enemy, and he looked to see what 
exploits they would perform. They advanced 
toward Octavius's ships, and when they met 
them, Antony observed, to his utter amazement, 
that, instead of the furious combat that he had 
expected to see, the ships only exchanged friend- 
ly salutations, by the use of the customary naval 
signals ; and then his ships, passing quietly 
round, took their positions in the lines of the 
other fleet. The two fleets had thus become 
merged and mingled into one 

B.C.30.] The End of Cleopatra. 299 

False rumor of Cleopatra's death. Antony's despair. 

Antony immediately decided that this was 
Cleopatra's treason. She had made peace with 
Octavius, he thought, and surrendered the fleet 
to him as one of the conditions of it. Antony 
ran through the city, crying out that he was 
betrayed, and in a phrensy of rage sought the 
palace. Cleopatra fled to her tomb. She took 
in with her one or two attendants, and bolted 
and barred the doors, securing the fastenings 
with the heavy catches and springs that she had 
previously made ready. She then directed her 
women to call out through the door that she 
had killed herself within the tomb. 

The tidings of her death were borne to An- 
tony. It changed his anger to grief and de- 
spair. His mind, in fact, was now wholly lost 
to all balance and control, and it passed from 
the dominion of one stormy passion to another 
with the most capricious facility. He cried out 
with the most bitter expressions of sorrow, 
mourning, he said, not so much Cleopatra's 
death, for he should soon follow and join her, as 
the fact that she had proved herself so superior 
to him in courage at last, in having thus an- 
ticipated him in the work of self-destruction. 

He was at this time in one of the chambers 
of the palace, whither he had fled in his despair, 

300 Cleopatra. [B.C. 30. 

Eros. Antony's attempt to kill himself. 

and was standing by a fire, for the morning was 
cold. He had a favorite servant named Eros, 
whom he greatly trusted, and whom lie had 
made to take an oath long before, that whenever 
it should become necessary for him to die, Eros 
should kill him. This Eros he now called to 
him, and telling him that the time was come, or- 
dered him to take the sword and strike the blow. 

Eros took the sword while Antony stood up 
before him. Eros turned his head aside as if 
wishing that his eyes should not see the deed 
which his hands were about to perform. In- 
stead, however, of piercing his master with it, 
he plunged it into his own breast, fell down at 
Antony's feet, and died. 

Antony gazed a moment at the shocking spec- 
tacle, and then said, "I thank thee for this, noble 
Eros. Thou hast set me an example. I must 
do for myself what thou couldst not do for me." 
So saying, he took the sword from his servant's 
hands, plunged it into his body, and staggering 
to a little bed that was near, fell over upon it 
in a swoon. He had received a mortal wound. 

The pressure, however, which was produced 
by the position in which he lay upon the bed, 
stanched the wound a little and stopped the flow 
of blood. Antony came presently to himself 

B.C.30.] The End of Cleopatra. 301 

Antony taken to Cleopatra. She refuses to open the door. 

again, and then began to beg and implore those 
around him to take the sword and put him out 
of his misery. But no one would do it. He 
lay for a time suffering great pain, and moan- 
ing incessantly, until, at length, an officer came 
into the apartment and told him that the story 
which he had heard of Cleopatra's death was 
not true ; that she was still alive, shut up in her 
monument, and that she desired to see him 
there. This intelligence was the source of new 
excitement and agitation. Antony implored the 
by-standers to carry him to Cleopatra, that he 
might see her once more before he died. They 
shrank from the attempt ; but, after some hesi- 
tation and delay, they concluded to undertake 
to remove him. So, taking him in their arms, 
they bore him along, faint and dying, and 
marking their track with his blood, toward the 

Cleopatra would not open the gates to let the 
party in. The city was all in uproar and con- 
fusion through the terror of the assault which 
Octavius was making upon it, and she did not 
know what treachery might be intended. She 
therefore went up to a window above, and let- 
ting down ropes and chains, she directed those 
below to fasten the dying body to them, that 

JJ02 Cleopatra. [B.C. ^0 

Antony taken in at the window. Cleopatra's giiff, 

she ami the two women with her might draw it 
np. This was done. Those who witnessed it 
said that it was a most piteous sight to behold 
— Cleopatra and her women above exhausting 
their strength in drawing the wounded and 
bleeding sufferer up the wall, w^hile he, wiien he 
approached the window, feebly raised his arms 
to them, that they might lift him in. The 
women had hardly strength sufficient to draw 
the body up. At one time it seemed that the 
attempt would have to be abandoned ; but Cle- 
opatra reached down from the window as far as 
she could to get hold of Antony's arms, and 
thus, by dint of great effort, they succeeded at 
last in taking him in. They bore him to a 
couch which was in the upper room from which 
the window opened, and laid him down, while 
Cleopatra wrung her hands, and tore her hair, 
and uttered the most piercing lamentations and 
cries. She leaned over the dying Antony, cry- 
ing out incessantly with the most piteous ex- 
clamations of grief She bathed his face, which 
was covered with blood, and vainly endeavored 
to stanch his wound. 

Antony urged her to be calm, and not to 
mourn his fate. He asked for some wine. They 
brought it to him, and he drank it. He then 

B.C.30.] The End of Cleopatra. 805 

Death of Antony. Cleopatra made prisoner. 

entreated Cleopatra to save her life, if she pos- 
sibly could do so, and to make some terms or 
other with Octavius, so as to continue to live. 
Very soon after this he expired. 

In the mean time, Octavius had heard of the 
mortal wound which Antony had given him- 
self; for one of the by-standers had seized the 
sword the moment that the deed was done, and 
had hastened to carry it to Octavius, and to an- 
nounce to him the death of his enemy. Octa- 
vius immediately desired to get Cleopatra into 
his power. He sent a messeoger, therefore, to 
the tomb, who attempted to open a parley there 
with her. Cleopatra talked with the messen- 
ger through the keyholes or crevices, but could 
not be induced to open the door. The messen- 
ger reported these facts to Octavius. Octavius 
then sent another man with the messenger, and 
while one was engaging the attention of Cleo- 
patra and her women at the door below, the 
other obtained ladders, and succeeded in gain- 
ing admission into the window above. Cleopa- 
tra was warned of the success of this stratagem 
by the shriek of her woman, who saw the officer 
coming down the stairs. She looked around, 
and observing at a glance that she was betray- 
ed, and that the officer was coming to seize her, 

306 Cleopatra. [B.C. 30. 

Treatment of Cleopatra. Octavius takes possession of Alexandria. 

she drew a little dagger from her robe, and was 
about to plunge it into her breast, when the 
officer grasped her arm just in time to prevent 
the blow. He took the dagger from her, and 
then examined her clothes to see that there 
were no other secret weapons concealed there. 

The capture of the queen being reported to 
Octavius, he appointed an officer to take her 
into close custody. This officer was charged to 
treat her v/ith all possible courtesy, but to keep 
a close and constant watch over her, and par- 
ticularly to guard against allowing her any pos- 
sible means or opportunity for self-destruction. 

In the mean time, Octavius took formal pos- 
session of the city, marching in at the head of 
his troops with the most imposing pomp and 
parade. A chair of state, magnificently deco- 
rated, was set up for him on a high elevation in 
a public square ; and here he sat, with circles 
of guards around him, while the people of the 
city, assembled before him in the dress of sup- 
pliants, and kneeling upon the pavement, begged 
his forgiveness, and implored him to spare the 
city. These petitions the great conqueror gra- 
ciously condescended to grant. 

Many of the princes and generals who had 
served under Antony came next to beg the body 

B.C. 30.] The End of Cleopatra. 307 

Antony's funeral. Cleopatra's wretched condition. 

of their commander, that they might give it an 
honorable burial. These requests, however, Oc- 
tavius would not accede to, saying that he could 
not take the body away from Cleopatra. He, 
however, gave Cleopatra leave to make such 
arrangements for the obsequies as she thought 
fit, and allowed her to appropriate such sums 
of money from her treasures for this purpose as 
she desired. Cleopatra accordingly made the 
necessary arrangements, and superintended the 
execution of them ; not, Hov/ever, with any de- 
gree of calmness and composure, but in a state, 
on the contrary, of extreme agitation and dis- 
tress. In fact, she had been living now so long 
under the unlimited and unrestrained dominion 
of caprice and passion, that reason was pretty 
effectually dethroned, and all self-control was 
gone. She was now nearly forty years of age, 
and, though traces of her inexpressible beauty 
remained, her bloom was faded, and her coun- 
tenance was wan with the effects of weeping, 
anxiety, and despair. She was, in a word, both 
in body and mind, only the wreck and ruin of 
what she once had been. 

When the burial ceremonies were performed, 
and she found that all was over — that Antony 
was forever gone, and she herself hopelessly and 

SOS Cleopatra. [B.C. 30. 

Cleopatra's wounds and bruises. She resolves to starve herselt 

irremediably ruined — she gave herself up to a 
perfect phrensy of grief. She beat her breast, 
and scratched and tore her flesh so dreadfully, 
in the vain efforts which she made to kill her- 
self, in the paroxysms of her despair, that she 
was soon covered with contusions and wounds, 
which, becoming inflamed and swelled, made 
her a shocking spectacle to see, and threw her 
into a fever. She then conceived the idea of 
pretending to be more sick than she was, and 
so refusing food and starving herself to death. 
She attempted to execute this design. She re- 
jected every medical remedy that was offered 
her, and would not eat, and lived thus some 
days without food. Octavius, to whom every 
thing relating to his captive was minutely re- 
ported by her attendants, suspected her design. 
He was very unwilling that she should die, 
having set his heart on exhibiting her to the 
Roman people, on his return to the capital, in 
his triumphal procession. He accordingly sent 
her orders, requiring that she should submit to 
the treatment prescribed by the physician, and 
take her food, enforcing these his commands 
with a certain threat which he imagined might 
have some influence over her. And what threat 
does the reader imagine could possibly be de- 

B.C. 30.] The End of Cleopatra. 309 

Threats of Octavius. Their effect 

vised to reach a mind so sunk, so desperate, so 
wretched as hers ? Every thing seemed already 
lost but life, and life was only an insupportable 
burden. What interests, then, had she still re- 
maining upon which a threat could take hold ? 

Octavius, in looking for some avenue by 
which he could reach her, reflected that she was 
a mother. Csesarion, the son of Julius Csesar, 
and Alexander, Cleopatra, and Ptolemy, Anto- 
ny's children, were still alive. Octavius imag- 
ined that in the secret recesses of lier wrecked 
and ruined soul there might be some lingering 
principle of maternal affection remaining which 
he could goad into life and action. He accord- 
ingly sent word to her that, if she did not yield 
to the physician and take her food, he would 
kill every one of her children. 

The threat produced its effect. The crazed 
and frantic patient became calm. She receiv- 
ed her food. She submitted to the physician. 
Under his treatment her wounds began to heal, 
the fever was allayed, and at length she appear- 
ed to be gradually recovering. 

When Octavius learned that Cleopatra had 
become composed, and seemed to be in some 
sense convalescent, he resolved to pay her a vis- 
it. As he entered the room where she was con- 

310 Cleopatra. [B.C. 30. 

Octavius visits Cleopatra. Her wretched condition- 

fined, which seems to have been still the upper 
chamber of her tomb, he found her lying on a 
low and miserable bed, in a most wretched con- 
dition, and exhibiting such a spectacle of dis- 
ease and wretchedness that he was shocked at 
beholding her. She appeared, in fact, almost 
wholly bereft of reason. When Octavius came 
in, she suddenly leaped out of the bed, half nak- 
ed as she was, and covered with bruises and 
wounds, and crawled miserably along to her 
conqueror's feet in the attitude of a suppliant. 
Her hair was torn from her head, her limbs 
were swollen and disfigured, and great bandages 
appeared here and there, indicating that there 
were still worse injuries than these concealed. 
From the midst of all this squalidness and mis- 
ery there still beamed from her sunken eyes a 
great portion of their former beauty, and her 
voice still possessed the same inexpressible 
charm that had characterized it so strongly in 
the days of her prime. Octavius made her go 
back to her bed again and lie down. 

Cleopatra then began to talk and excuse her- 
self for what she had done, attributing all the 
blame of her conduct to Antony. Octavius, 
however, interrupted her, and defended Antony 
from her criminations, saying to her that it was 

B.C.30.] The End of Cleopatra. 311 

The false inventory. Cleopatra in a rage. 

not his fault so much as hers. She then sud- 
denly changed her tone, and acknowledging her 
sins, piteously implored mercy. She begged 
Octavius to pardon and spare her, as if now she 
were afraid of death and dreaded it, instead of 
desiring it as a boon. In a word, her mind, 
the victim and the prey alternately of the most 
dissimilar and inconsistent passions, was now 
overcome by fear. To propitiate Octavius, she 
brought out a list of all her private treasures, 
and delivered it to him as a complete inventory 
of all that she had. One of her treasurers, 
however, named Zeleucus, who was standing 
by, said to Octavius that that list was not com- 
plete. Cleopatra had, he alleged, reserved sev- 
eral things of great value, which she had not 
put down upon it* 

This assertion, thus suddenly exposing her 
duplicity, threw Cleopatra into a violent rage. 
She sprang from her bed and assaulted her sec- 
retary in a most furious manner. Octavius and 
the others who were there interposed, and com- 
pelled Cleopatra to lie down again, which she 
did, uttering all the time the most grievous com- 
plaints at the wretched degradation to which 
she was reduced, to be insulted thus by her own 
servants at such a time. If she had reserved 

312 Cleopatra. [B.C. 30 

Octavius deceived. Cleopatra's determination 

any thing, she said, of her private treasures, it 
was only for presents to some of her faithful 
friends, to induce them the more zealously to 
intercede with Octavius in her behalf. Octa- 
vius replied by urging her to feel no concern 
on the subject whatever. He freely gave her, 
he said, all that she had reserved, and he prom- 
ised in other respects to treat her in the most 
honorable and courteous manner. 

Octavius was much pleased at the result of 
this interview. It was obvious, as it appeared 
to him, that Cleopatra had ceased to desire to 
die ; that she now, on the contrary, wished to 
live, and that he should accordingly succeed in 
his desire of taking her with him to grace his 
triumph at Rome. He accordingly made his 
arrangements for departure, and Cleopatra was 
notified that in three days she was to set out, 
together with her children, to go into Syria. 
Octavius said Syria, as he did not wish to alarm 
Cleopatra by speaking of Rome. She, hov/ever, 
understood well where the journey, if once com- 
menced, would necessarily end, and she was 
fully determined in her own mind that she 
would never go there. 

She asked to be allowed to pay one parting 
visit to Antony's tomb. This request was 

B.C. 30.] The End of Cleopatra. 313 

if : ^ . 

Cleopatra visits Antony's tomb. Her composure on her return. 

granted ; and she went to the tomb with a few 
attendants, carrying with her chaplets and gar- 
lands of flowers. At the tomb her grief broke 
forth anew, and was as violent as ever. She 
bewailed her lover's death with loud cries and 
lamentations, uttered while she was placing the 
garlands upon the tomb, and offering the obla- 
tions and incense, which were customary in 
those days, as expressions of grief. '^ These," 
said she, as she made the offerings, '' are the last 
tributes of affection that I can ever pay thee, 
my dearest, dearest lord, I can not join thee, 
for I am a captive and a prisoner, and they will 
not let me die. They watch me every hour, 
and are going to bear me far away, to exhibit 
me to thine enemies, as a badge and trophy of 
their triumph over thee. Oh intercede, dearest 
Antony, with, the gods where thou art now, 
since those that reign here on earth have utterly 
forsaken me ; implore them to save me from 
this fate, and let me die here in my native land, 
and be buried by thy side in this tomb." 

When Cleopatra returned to her apartment 
again after this melancholy ceremony, she seem- 
ed to be more composed than she had been be- 
fore. She went to the bath, and then she at- 
tired herself handsomely for supper. She had 

314 Cleopatra. [B.C. 30. 

Cleopatra's supper. The basket of figs. 

ordered supper that night to be very sumptu- 
ously served. She was at liberty to make these 
arrangements, for the restrictions upon her 
movements, which had been imposed at first, 
were now removed, her appearance and de- 
meanor having been for some time such as to 
lead Octavius to suppose that there was no 
longer any danger that she would attempt self- 
destruction. Her entertainment was arranged, 
therefore, according to her directions, in a man- 
ner corresponding with the customs of her court 
when she had been a queen. She had many 
attendants, and among thera were two of her 
own women. These women were long-tried and 
faithful servants and friends. 

While she was at supper, a man came to the 
door with a basket, and wished to enter. The 
guards asked him what he had in his basket. 
He opened it to let them see ; and, lifting up 
some green leaves which were laid over the top, 
he showed the soldiers that the basket was filled 
with figs. He said that they were for Cleo- 
patra's supper. The soldiers admired the ap- 
pearance of the figs, saying that they were very 
fine and beautiful. The man asked the soldiers 
to take some of them. This they declined, but 
allowed the man to pass in. When the supper 


B.C. 30.] The Enp of Cleopatra. 315 

Cleopatra's letter to Octavius. She is found dead, 

was ended, Cleopatra sent all of her attendants 
away except the two women. They remained. 
After a little time, one of these women came 
out with a letter for Octavius, which Cleopatra 
had written, and which she wished to have im- 
mediately delivered. One of the soldiers from 
the guard stationed at the gates was accord- 
ingly dispatched to carry the letter. Octavius, 
when it was given to him, opened the envelope 
at once and read the letter, which was written, 
as was customary in those days, on a small 
tablet of metal. He found that it was a brief 
but urgent petition from Cleopatra, written ev- 
idently in agitation and excitement, praying 
that he would overlook her offense, and allow 
her to be buried with Antony. Octavius im- 
mediately inferred that she had destroyed her- 
self. He sent off some messengers at once, with 
orders to go directly to her place of confinement 
and ascertain the truth, intending to follow them 
himself immediately. 

The messengers, on their arrival at the gates, 
found the sentinels and soldiers quietly on guard 
before the door, as if all were well. On enter- 
ing Cleopatra's room, however, they beheld a 
shocking spectacle. Cleopatra was lying dead 
upon a couch. One of her women was upon 

316 Cleopatra. [B.C. 30. 

Death of Charmion. Amazement of the by-standers. 

the floor, dead too. The other, whose name 
was Charmion, was sitting over the body of her 
mistress, fondly caressing her, arranging flowers 
in her hair, and adorning her Ciadem. The 
messengers of Octavius, on witnessing this spec- 
tacle, were overcome with amazement, and de- 
manded of Charmion what it could mean. " It 
is all right," said Charmion. " Cleopatra has 
acted in a manner worthy of a princess descend- 
ed from so noble a line of kings." As Charmion 
said this, she began to sink herself, fainting, 
upon the bed, and almost immediately expired. 
The by-standers were not only shocked at the 
spectacle which was thus presented before them, 
but they were perplexed and confounded in their 
attempts to discover by what means Cleopatra 
and her women had succeeded in effecting their 
design. They examined the bodies, but no 
marks of violence were to be discovered. They 
looked all around the room, but no weapons, and 
no indication of any means of poison, were to be 
found. They discovered something that ap- 
peared like the slimy track of an animal on the 
wall, toward a window, which they thought 
might have been produced by an asp ; but the 
animal itself was nowhere to be seen. They 
examined the body with great care, but no 

B.C.30.] The End of Cleopatra. 317 

Various conjectures as to the cause of Cleopatra's death. 

marks of any bite or sting were to be found, ex- 
cept that there were two very slight and scarce- 
ly-discernible punctures on the arm, which some 
persons fancied might have been so caused. 
The means and manner of her death seemed to 
be involved in impenetrable mystery. 

There were various rumors on the subject 
subsequently in circulation both at Alexandria 
and at Rome, though the mystery was never 
fully solved. Some said that there was an asp 
concealed among the figs which the servant man 
brought in in the basket ; that he brought it in 
that manner, by a preconcerted arrangement 
between him and Cleopatra, and that, when she 
received it, she placed the animal on her arm. 
Others say that she had a small steel instru- 
ment like a needle, with a poisoned point, which 
she had kept concealed in her hair, and that she 
killed herself with that, without producing any 
visible wound. Another story was, that she had 
an asp in a box somewhere in her apartment, 
which she had reserved for this occasion, and 
when the time finally came, that she pricked 
and teased it with a golden bodkin to make it 
angry, and then placed it upon her flesh and 
received its sting. Which of these stories, if 
either of them, were true, could never be known. 

318 Cleopatra. [B.C. 30. 

Opinion of Octavius. _ His triumph. 

It has, however, been generally believed among 
mankind that Cleopatra died in some v^ay or 
other by the self-inflicted sting of the asp, and 
paintings and sculptures without number have 
been made to illustrate and commemorate the 

This supposition in respect to the mode of 
her death is, in fact, confirmed by the action 
of Octavius himself on his return to Rome, 
which furnishes a strong indication of his opin- 
ion of the manner in which his captive at last 
eluded him. Disappointed in not being able to 
exhibit the queen herself in his triumphal train, 
he caused a golden statue representing her to 
be made, with an image of an asp upon the arm 
of it, and this sculpture he caused to be borne 
conspicuously before him in his grand triumphal 
entry into the capital, as the token and trophy 
of the final downfall of the unhappy Egyptian 

The End. 

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